My Family

If you are new to this blog and want to read the entire story chronologically - please start in January with "Our Story, Part 1"

Friday, April 30, 2010

Open Invitation - Poll

As many of you know, I have decided to go “private” with my blog. I am leaving it open for a few days so any of you who would like an invite, please e-mail me at and I will be happy to add you to the list!

My other option(s) would be:

Change some of the personal information about my children so they wouldn’t be as accessible for the entire world to see (and leave my blog open).

Not worry about what other people think. Hah!

What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know! Thanks!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Privatized ~ Friends make the world go round!

A few days ago after my “Everyone’s a Critic” Part 2, I received yet another nasty comment from “Gloria…” Oh Gloria. I guess there has to be opposition in all things right? But this time, something she said actually rang true (I told her I would welcome constructive criticism!) She mentioned that I have a lot of private information about my children regarding their relinquishment stories (which I do) – I hadn’t thought about how their story might affect them if some of their peers read it. Their story is “their story” and I really don’t have the right to share it with the entire world - thus my decision to make my blog private. So if you are one of the few people I invited to continue reading this ~Welcome, I am glad you decided to stay!

It has been one of those weeks. I have felt worthless, like I am not a good mom – (I am sure most moms feel like this many times...)

I realized I have been reading too many negative blogs and books (The Primal Wound, as suggested by the negative blogs) about adoption lately. I have been feeling like this horrible person for “taking” these children away from their natural mother and the affect it will have on them and their future. This morning was a low point for me.

Then, my friend Celestia called and said she was bringing me lunch today. She had no idea I was feeling low as I hadn’t discussed how I was feeling with her at all, but somehow she knew to come (THANK YOU!) My sister even called me to see how things were going (she saw on my Facebook page that I was having a bad day) I was happy just hearing her soothing voice (she has one of those amazing radio voices); she has always been such a wonderful example to me!

After we had a delicious lunch (Holy Kolache! and Cinnamon Rolls!) My friend’s husband Tim (who is a Physician’s Assistant) stopped by my house to check on Aubrey because she has been really sick. Tim was adopted at birth so I started talking to him about these books and blogs I had been reading and asked how he felt as an adoptee and if he agreed with what I had read. He said he felt completely opposite (this made my heart soar! There was hope for me as a mother!)

Yeah, I just heard a knock on the door and it was my friend Nicole bringing me some yummy cookies! I am now eating some delicious peanut butter cookies and a cold glass of milk – and I am feeling better already! There is so much good in this world, I have to stop focusing on the bad!

Wow, another knock at my door and Celestia’s girls brought our family dinner! I do have to say that I have some of the best friends, neighbors and family in the world! Thanks for making me smile again!
Then a few minutes later I checked my e-mail to find another wonderful note from my friend Kari.... Heavenly Father is definitely watching over me today!

Thanks to my husband as well… he took the girls on a daddy/daughter date to give me some time to unwind/cry/blog/vent… Thanks honey!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

“Everyone’s A Critic” Part 2

When I meet someone or see someone for the first time I automatically start making assumptions or judgements about that person… I judge them by their appearance, how they look, walk, talk, and interact… I try to discern if they are happy, sad, angry, frustrated or depressed… This is me making a snap judgement about someone within about the first 10 seconds of meeting them or seeing them. I have come to realize over the years that 99% of the time my assumptions are completely wrong. I realize that every person has their story and I have no idea about their past joys, successes or failures and trials, as they have no idea about mine and are probably making their own assumptions and judgements about me at the very same time.

Two years ago I had no idea what a blog even was. I started a family blog because my friend told me it was a good way to “journal” family events. Then I decided to start writing about adoption and the story of my children. After my first week of writing I decided to “Google” about adoption and read other blogs about adoption. WOW! I was amazed at the enormous amount of negativity surrounding adoption. I had no idea so many people are AGAINST adoption! I have read several blogs written by birth mothers and adoptees making adoptive parents out to be these villainous people who snatch babies away from their mothers. I couldn’t understand why they would be so angry that a child was placed with a loving family…. So I read and read some more.

I came to agree with a lot of what they wrote because I tried to see things from their viewpoint, but I don’t agree with everything they write (as I am sure they don’t agree with me). Does that make them wrong and me right? No, it makes us different and like the Arby’s commercial used to say “Different is good.” Their situation is different from mine; I cannot judge or dismiss their feelings just because they are not the same as my own. I can’t go back and change how my children were placed with our family. Looking back, with the knowledge I have now, of course I would change how I acted and reacted in singular situations, but hindsight is like that.

I have received several very negative and biting comments and e-mails from people who have read my blog and don’t agree with me (yes it hurts) but that is okay. For those who have left their name or a way to contact them I have read their blogs and their stories to try and find out where they are coming from. I used to get angry when people would try to tell me how to raise my children because it seemed they were always comparing me to themselves “I never worked when I had small children…” or “my children never did THAT.” It was always “advice” that made me feel like I was not doing a good job as a mother or parent.

I don’t mind criticism, as long as it is constructive criticism. If someone has an idea that would make my life better or a suggestion on how I could improve, I am all for it. I loved when a friend of mine told me about having “nights” with my kids, it has been one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received.

People aren’t always going to agree with the decisions I made in my life and with regards to adoption, but if you have some advice on how I could do something better, I am open to hear it, just don’t criticize the past, I can’t change that now.

I am learning along with everyone else ~ and like my son said “Everyone’s a critic” even me.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

“Everyone’s a Critic” Part 1

My son Preston loves to quote one-liners from movies or TV shows. Granted we haven’t had TV per se for about five years, but we do watch a lot of movies from the library and we own the entire collection of seasons 1-9 of "Full House" (I think that is where he got the above quote).

Earlier this week I was in the kitchen as Preston walked through the front door from school. He sat down in a chair with a huge sigh and said “Everyone’s a critic.” I wasn’t sure what he meant so I said “What do you mean by that?”

Preston at "Toads Fun Center" celebrating his birthday earlier this month

He said, “Girls are mainly critics” – so I said “Okay Preston, you be the critic, what could I do better for you as a mother to make you happy?” Preston thought about it for 10 seconds and said with a little smirk on his face “feed me more.” Then he said, “Actually, I am pretty happy.” So ended that, but I kept thinking about criticism we receive (and give) everyday.

I get the local daily newspaper and in the Saturday Religion Section I found an article titled:

“Most of us come with strengths and weaknesses”

by Chris Karcher. Here is a small excerpt:

Who is bugging you these days? Anybody?
Disregard extremists and radicals such as terrorists, pedophiles and hooligans. Instead, consider your relationships with family, friends and acquaintances.

What bothers you about them? Are they greedy? Disagreeable? Arrogant? Argumentative? Rude? Critical? Controlling? Self-centered? Mean? Insensitive? Impatient? Ah, the list of possibilities is long.

Psychologists say other people’s traits that bug us are likely traits within ourselves we deny or suppress. This is called projection. We project onto other people that which we deny in ourselves.

It’s not always projection particularly if we don’t feel an emotional twinge when observing an attribute in another. But people who get under our skin may be reflecting some of our own personality traits back to us…..

Jesus wanted us to see ourselves for who we are. He taught before we judge others, we should look within ourselves.

It is freeing to acknowledge the truth: we are not perfect, but God loves us anyway.

Bringing the reality of our shortcomings to light makes us more understanding and increases our sense of compassion for others.

More to come...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Les Mis and Love Notes

A few weeks ago Mykel and I took Cole and Ava to see a high school production of Les Miserables. (Mykel and I saw it on Broadway in New York 13 years ago and LOVED it!) I wasn’t sure how Ava would fare because she was already tired, but she was enthralled from the beginning. Every now and then I will hear her humming songs from the play…so last night we downloaded the Les Miserables album from iTunes and put it on my iPod (Ava loves to wear headphones and listen to music).

Ava was in heaven! She couldn’t stop singing the beginning overture and of course her favorite “Master of the House.” We watched a few clips from YouTube but she was a little disappointed because the guy who sang “Master of the House” wasn’t the same guy as the play she watched… and the guy from the high school play was simply amazing!

So this morning when I woke up to do my daily transcription work I found the following note sitting next to the computer:

(I also attached a few notes she has written in the past few weeks).

I can’t wait to hear her singing this morning! I love my little Ava girl!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thank you Ruth!

"In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness.
But the number of prayers we answer may be of greater importance."
Dieter F. UchtdorfThank you Ruth for answering my prayers!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A little break... or a long one.

I get up at 4:30 a.m. and go to the gym/running with my friend for 45 minutes, then I have a few hours of medical transcription work to get done. I wake up my oldest son at 6:20 a.m. to get ready for school, and then my other children get up around 7 a.m. (or sooner).

I baby-sit several children five days of the week and they usually arrive between 7:30-8:00 a.m. and stay until 3:30-4:00 p.m., I don’t like to be on the computer when I have little children to care for.

My children get home from school around 3:45 p.m., and then they need help with homework, getting dinner ready, chores, grocery shopping, appointments, time with family, etc….

I know my children HATE to see me working on the computer because then I can’t give my full attention to them. If I am on the computer while my daughter Aubrey is awake, she is NOT happy.

There are only a few things that I can eliminate from my schedule to allow more time with my children, my computer use is one of those (Aubrey is already awake and wanting my attention as I type this!)

So, I am at a crossroads of whether or not to continue with my blog…. Give me a week and I will see how I feel then. I need to spend some time with my family.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Our Story, Part 50 - "Nights"

Last Fall my friend Mariel asked me to write a “guest post” on her popular blog “Or So She Says.” I wrote about “nights” with my children, so some of this post is taken from that. After I wrote that post, I started thinking about changing my personal family blog to a blog that dealt with something I deal with every day, being an adoptive parent…. So began my blog “The Adoptive Mother.”

Today is my 50th post with regards to “Our Story.” This will be my last post for that segment and I will start writing about more current issues with regards to open adoption.

When Ruth was pregnant with Ava my boys saw her quite frequently. They accompanied Ruth and I when we went to her doctor appointments, they visited her apartment, made cards and notes for her and saw her on a regular basis. After Ava was born and Ruth decided to parent her we didn't see her for a while. Naturally the boys had a lot of questions about what would happen to their sister and to Ruth. Each night when I would tuck my boys in they would ask me questions about anything and everything. My oldest son Bryan was 7-years-old at the time and he had the most questions. I didn’t know how to answer some of the questions in front of all of the boys because of the differences in age and knowledge about the situation, so a friend of mine suggested that I set aside some time each night with them individually. Thus began a family tradition we call “nights.”

The basic premise of having “nights” means that each child is assigned a night, (Aubrey has Sunday, Ava Monday, Preston Tuesday, Cole Wednesday and Bryan Thursday). After we say family prayers and everyone gets tucked into bed, I spend an extra 15-45 minutes with my child on his/her “night.” At first most of our talks were about Ruth, Bryan wanted to know what was going to happen with Ava, he asked a lot of questions about his first family and what they were doing and how they were doing. Most of this time was spent comforting him and calming his anxiety and fears about separation and adoption in general, but basically just answering the questions he had about what was going to happen in the future, even if that meant saying "I don't know" because honestly I had no idea what was going to happen.

The main idea is just to take time ALONE with each child to talk, listen or both. With my youngest (age 3) we usually just read a few books and it only takes 10-15 minutes, but with my older children, they have a LOT to talk about! I thought maybe as my children got older they wouldn’t be as interested as when they were young, but I was wrong! They already start planning on what we are going to do on their “night” before they even leave for school or a few days before. I have found out things about my children that I never thought they would share…

Here are some ideas of what we do with our time together:

Sit together on the couch and just talk (we do this 90% of the time)
Read together, we usually take turns reading (if your child is old enough to read)
We take funny pictures of each other pulling faces
Sometimes we go to the store if I have errands to run (and get a small treat)
Go to the gas station and get a hot chocolate or drink (I have had some of my best talks with my teenage son while we drive)
Look up fun things on the internet, such as new books or toys they are interested in
Help with homework (if it didn’t get finished earlier)
Play a board game such as chess/checkers
Play a card game
In the summer we like to go outside and lie on the lawn and look at the stars and talk
Create a yummy snack to share (my kids love to cook!)
Around Christmas they help me shop and wrap presents for their siblings
Snuggle on the couch and read the comics

Being committed to doing this night after night and week after week is not easy (but it is definitely worth it!) Sometimes I have no idea what to say, sometimes I just want to get in bed, or go to bed at the same time as my spouse… but I have also designated Friday and Saturday nights as nights with my hubby (so he doesn’t miss out either on alone time either!)

A few weeks ago I was really sick on Thursday (Bryan’s night) so I was in bed hours before everyone else. The next day he mentioned that we missed his night and asked if we could have it the next day. I am so grateful for the time I am able to spend with my children. We don’t always talk about something profound, sometimes we talk about nothing at all, but I want my children to know I am there for them no matter what, especially as they start questioning who they are and ask more profound and probing questions about their past.

When my kids grow up and leave the house… I plan on making their “night” of the week the day when I call them to catch up…and hopefully they will still want to talk!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Another perspective…

My friend Leslie sent me the following e-mail yesterday. She and her sister Rachel were the two people who took Ava to meet with Tony (see post 36 -"The Meeting"). I am so thankful for the wonderful friends in my life! Thank you Leslie! Like I’ve said before, I knew I was supposed to move to my little house on Jefferson Ave. I met some of the amazing people there who will be lifelong friends… Heavenly Father is definitely watching over us!

"I suppose that if you have stumbled across this blog, and don't personally know Mykel and Camille, this must seem like the most unique adoption story you have ever heard of. In truth, it probably is. However, if you have met them, you know this is who they are. Whether it is Sunday dinner or a movie night, they bring you into their lives and offer true friendship. You are better for having known them. So adoption and welcoming all of these precious little people into their lives, without reservation, is also who they are.

I remember my sister telling me about Ruth being pregnant with a fourth child. Instantly, my heart hoped that Ruth would place the baby with Mykel and Camille and that the baby would be a girl. After 3 active boys, Camille deserved a little nail polish and sun dresses, am I right? Ava becoming part of the family seemed like a painfully slow process but I remember the day she came home. Camille called me and we went over to see the baby. Sweet little Ava looked into all of our faces and I could not help but wonder what she was thinking. Camille let me hold her and change her diaper. This struck me as incredibly generous because she had been waiting for her for so long. Longer then before she knew Ava existed. Ava was so quiet and easy going. I giggled for days thinking of what her life would be like filled with the sounds of a house with brothers. Actual. Biological. Brothers. Even now, recalling that evening fills me with an overwhelming sense of how truly special this family is.

I went with my sister to McDonald's to meet Tony and his mother. Nervous is a huge understatement. I felt terrified. I remember seeing Tony meet Ava and feeling a great deal of empathy for him and his mother. Being a parent, I understand what it feels like to love your child. Knowing Mykel and Camille and the family that awaited Ava, if Tony chose it, filled me with hope and happiness for Ava's future. For Tony to trust that they could take care of her and let her go, to be a part of another family would take a great deal of courage and faith. But it is our very nature as human beings to be selfish, to think of our own wants and needs. That day I remember thinking the greatest gift one can give, is giving someone their child. Could he do it?

After reading Tony's post today I realize the error in my thinking. The greatest gift that one can give isn't giving someone a child. The greatest gift one can give, is giving a child a family."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Letter from a Birth Father

When I decided to write this blog I wrote Tony (Ava's Birth Father) an e-mail explaining what I wanted to do. I told him if he ever wanted to contribute anything or post anything on my blog I would be happy to share "his side of the story" or how he felt. I received the following e-mail last week ~ used by permission from the author.

(Here are a few pictures of Ava with her birth father Tony. I showed Ava a picture of Tony on my computer and asked her "who is that" and she said "me!" They do look a lot alike!)

I am the biological father of Ava Skye. My name is Tony Padia, I am a Native American from the Northern Ute Tribe. Ava is my only child. I had visited with her a few weeks after her birth.

I also had the opportunity to visit with her and bring my mother Lorna Bear and my little brother Justin with me on this visit. I was very nervous on how things would turn out with the people that had brought Ava to visit me and my family. It turned out that they were very friendly and open to expressing how loving Camille and her husband were to Ava. I was glad to hear they welcomed her into the family with love and kindness. Camille’s friends expressed that Camille wanted to adopt Ava; I was sad for a moment, then my mother explained to me that Ava would understand my love that I have for her to be brought into a home with two loving parents and brothers (biological) that would love her. I was very open to the fact that they would take her as their own child.

About my visit with Ava - I had the opportunity to hold Ava and I realized that I held a responsibility toward baby Ava who I had brought into this world. I remember seeing how beautiful she looked; so small, she had loving eyes, and my nose, with a great complexion.

I love her with all my heart. What stands out the most is how much I love her. I want the best for Ava; I couldn’t offer that for her and knew that she would be well take care of by Camille and her family.

I see Ava now in photos. I am so glad that I was brave in my choice to see her raised in a loving family; I could not take that away from her now or ever. I know that this is the family our Creator has chosen her to be with.

Tony Padia

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Our Story, Part 49 - Worth the Wait

This morning Aubrey woke up early and said “come lay by me.” We snuggled on the couch for a minute and then I carried her into my bedroom and we snuggled in my covers (she is still in there sleeping). She was lying right next to me and smiling, and then she took her little hand and started caressing my face. I just smiled at her and she said “I love you mommy.”

I thought to myself, “You were definitely worth the wait!”

I LOVE being a mom!

Aubrey’s adoption was finalized on April 1, 2008, almost exactly 10 months from the day I picked her up. She was “sealed” to our family a few weeks later in the Ogden Temple. I wanted to share a few pictures of that day, it was one of the very best memories I have with my children and family.

"I have a family here on earth.

They are so good to me.

I want to share my life with them through all eternity.

Families can be together forever

Through Heavenly Father's plan.

I always want to be with my own family,

And the Lord has shown me how I can.

The Lord has shown me how I can."

LDS Children's Songbook, Page 188

All pictures were taken by Nicole Anderson Photography.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Our Story, Part 48 - The Drive

Even though Aubrey had been with us since June, Ruth or “D” could still legally take her back because they hadn’t relinquished their parental rights. Another court date was set for January 30, 2008, and I hoped that Ruth and “D” would make it. I had been e-mailing Ruth back and forth and asking if she needed any help with her apartment or if she needed a ride. She finally wrote me back (two days before) and asked me if I could give her a ride to the court hearing. We made arrangements via e-mail on what time I would pick her up and where she would be. I knew she had the apartment downtown but she wasn’t staying there at night because she didn’t have a bed, so she said to pick her up at her mother-in-laws house (she and “D” were living there at the time).

The day before the court hearing I got another e-mail asking if I could also pick up “D.” This was so odd to me that I would be the person picking up my children’s birth mother and my daughter’s birth father and driving them to court to relinquish their parental rights.

The court hearing was set for 9 a.m. in Ogden and they lived in Salt Lake (about a 45 minute drive from my house on a good day), so I had to leave early in order to pick them up and get back to Ogden in time for the hearing. I took the girls over to my friend’s house at about 6:45 a.m. so I could get on the road (thank you Nicole for watching them!). There was already a huge snowstorm so I knew I would need extra time. I was late picking Ruth and “D” up because of the snow and all the accidents on the road. When they got in my car, Ruth sat in the front with me and “D” sat in the back (I could tell they were upset that I was late). They didn’t talk to each other during the entire drive (over an hour). I tried to make small talk but then just decided to concentrate on driving, I was too nervous to say much anyway.

I knew we were going to be late (I hate being late to anything!) so I called my attorney (he was at the court house), and he was luckily able to schedule our hearing for an hour later. When we finally arrived I asked them if they wanted me to just wait in the car or go in, they said to come in. Ironically the judge ended up being the same judge that presided over Ava’s adoption two years previous.

Ruth and “D” went in the court room with my attorney and I waited on a bench outside the door. A few minutes later my attorney came out and asked me if I was going to come in. I told him I didn’t want to make them feel uncomfortable. He said "'D' specifically requested that I come inside." I did not expect that!

The court room was basically empty except for our group, the bailiff and the judge. “D” had a back injury so he requested to be able to stand instead of sit. He was standing at the back of the court room and wanted to talk to me. He told me about a few things that he was upset with me about (I just listened and apologized) and then he asked me if I would please send him pictures of Aubrey every few weeks. I told him I would be happy to send him pictures and asked if he had any other requests. He didn’t.

I then watched both he and Ruth go in front of the judge. They had to answer several questions and then they each signed the paperwork that would give their consent allowing us to adopt Aubrey. I was really expecting “D” to speak up and say something when the judge was asking him questions, but he didn’t. It was so quiet in the court room, not even Ruth or “D” spoke to each other.

It had been eight months since Aubrey came to live with us, eight months of wondering if she would be able to stay another day, week or month. I cannot explain the feeling of elation I felt when the paperwork was signed ~ but the emotion was very somber as we left.

Camille (me) with Aubrey yesterday (April 2, 2010).

We had planned on getting something to eat before we left to go to Salt Lake, but “D” said his back was hurting so we just headed back. The entire hearing lasted less than 20 minutes. Again the drive was almost completely silent. When we got closer to Salt Lake, Ruth said she wanted to be dropped off at work, so we went downtown and I dropped her off. It was so odd when she got out of the car, I mean, what do I say?

After Ruth got out of the car “D” got in the front seat. As soon as the door closed and he and I were alone together he started talking my ear off (we still had about a 25 minute drive to his house). He talked the entire way and I learned even more about him, things that I will share with Aubrey when she wants to know more about her birth father.

When I dropped him off at his house, I again was at a loss of what to say other than “goodbye”and “I promise to send pictures.” That sounded so shallow, but I honestly didn’t know what to say that wouldn’t come off sounding wrong, there wasn’t a RIGHT thing to say. I couldn’t imagine how I would feel if the tables were turned.

I drove away in the snowstorm and called Mykel to let him know how everything turned out (I couldn't believe all that had transpired in the last three hours, my emotions were at a bursting point, I wanted to cry, scream and shout with joy all at the same time!)

I rushed back to Ogden to pick up Aubrey and Ava, I couldn't wait to see them and hold them... and I couldn’t wait to tell the boys that Aubrey could stay with us forever!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Our Story, Part 47 - Christmas Eve Dinner with Ruth

The next time I spoke with Aubrey’s birth father (“D”) was in January. Our attorney had been trying to contact he and Ruth for months to set up a time to go to court, but was unsuccessful. I hadn’t received any feedback from the letter I sent him in September, nor had he tried to contact me or ask for Aubrey to come back and live with them again.

A court date was set for December 18th, 2007, and my attorney tried unsuccessfully to contact Ruth or “D” to offer them a ride to court but neither Ruth nor “D” showed. I had no idea what I would do if they changed their minds again about wanting Aubrey back, I couldn’t let her go. I was still in contact with Ruth and I reminded her of the court date but to no avail, she told me that “she didn’t have a chance to get back with our attorney before the hearing.” I tried not to let the worry seep in, but I was restless about our future with Aubrey nonetheless.

I also knew that Ruth was still looking for her own place to live and on December 23, she told me she had found a place close to her work, yet she hadn’t completely moved in.

The children all wanted to see Ruth so we asked if she would like to meet us for dinner the next day on Christmas Eve. There was a raging snowstorm on our way to Salt Lake but we were determined to meet with Ruth that night. She was working in down town and we planned to meet after she finished work, her choice was to meet at Olive Garden. The restaurant was almost completely empty. As we walked in the front doors another group of people came in directly behind us. There were two pilots and a stewardess from back east staying in Salt Lake for a layover. They asked us “are these ALL you children?” I told them “yes” and we exchanged small-talk for a bit. I really wanted to say “we are meeting our children’s birth mother here tonight” but they were already shocked by the number of children we had so I didn’t want to put them over the edge with that revelation!

Ruth was a little late so we were all seated when she arrived. Dinner was fun and the kids had Ruth laughing quite a bit, she has braces so she would try not to smile with her teeth but then she almost couldn’t help it. I loved to see them all interact with each other, Aubrey was a little shy at first but then she warmed right up at the end and let Ruth hold her and feed her, it was an amazing evening to be a part of. The boys also brought a small Christmas tree for her and decorated it with mini-ornaments; they were so excited to give it to her!

After dinner the boys walked with Ruth and I back to her car while Mykel took the girls to get our vehicle. The snow was really thick and had already covered her windshield and all of her windows. The boys went to work cleaning off her car and loading up the presents and little tree they had brought for her (careful not to lose any of the tiny ornaments). Cole was so concerned about Ruth’s wellbeing so he asked her “are you lonely?” Each of the boys gave her a hug before they got in our van to leave. It was such a touching moment watching them talk, smile and hug each other. I was hoping I could be invisible at that moment so they could just act natural and not worry about me being there.

Ruth had parked a few blocks from the restaurant, so by the time Mykel pulled up behind her car to pick us up we were just finishing our goodbyes. When I got in the car I told Mykel what had just transpired and then I said “how different it is that we get to drive away with her five beautiful children and she is left alone…” my heart just ached for her, here I was sitting in a warm car with my husband, surrounded by my children, going home on Christmas Eve to a nice home filled with food and presents waiting for “Santa to arrive” yet Ruth didn’t even have a bed to sleep in. I wanted to just call her back and take her home with us, but that wasn’t the solution either. I wanted to make everyone happy in this scenario, but that was out of my control.