My Family

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Thursday, May 19, 2011


Over the years I have received several pieces of advice, some good, some bad, and some I need to listen to more often!

Two of the best pieces of advice (for me):
Spend a “night” (each week) with each of your children. This has been the all-time best advice I have ever received. When my three boys were young and all slept in the same room, it was chaos at bedtime. They all wanted my attention, they all had something to say at the same time, and trying to get through a bedtime story was nearly impossible considering their age differences. I was complaining about this one day to an older friend of mine. She suggested I give each of my boys a “night” that I would spend one-on-one time with them. I took this suggestion to heart. It was definitely not easy at the beginning (and sometimes it is still difficult) but being able to spend one-on-one time with my children talking about their concerns and having the chance to tell them individually how much I love them has been miraculous. Several times our talks focused on questions they had about their birth mother or their adoption, they have asked me to tell them about the first time I saw them and how I felt, we talk about school, struggles, or sometimes just go for a drive and get a Slurpee or hot chocolate. I am so glad I took this advice!

Hold your children when you feed them. I was never able to breast feed (for obvious reasons), and most of my children were over 9 months old when they came to live with our family, so my time being able to hold them and feed them was limited. I have loved being able to hold my children, look into their faces, and hold their tiny fingers as they ate. (They grow up soooooo fast!)

Two of the worst pieces of advice (for me):
“Don’t tell your children they are adopted” – I acknowledge that I thought about this option briefly, but it just never seemed right to me. I am the first to admit that having an “open” adoption hasn’t been completely easy, but it has been completely worth it.

“Don’t let your children see their birth mother” – The people that gave this advice to me thought it would be too hard on my children to see their birth mother and be able to “move on” with their lives. Those same people even suggested that it would be easier on their birth mother if she didn’t see them, so she could “move on” with her life. Their birth mother Ruth has told me time and time again that being able to see her children and hear how they are doing has been the best thing for her being able to “move on.” I am so grateful I listened to my own intuition and am able to spend time with Ruth and her family ~ they are a wonderful extension of our family.

Advice I need to heed more often! “Enjoy what you are doing NOW, don’t be worried about what you need to do next.” So often I find myself half-listening to what my children are saying because I am thinking about the load of laundry I need to fold, what I am going to fix for dinner, or some other mundane thing that doesn’t really matter. What REALLY matters is giving my full attention to what matters most, my children *(and husband!)

What is/was the best/worst advice you have ever been given?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Better than Christmas

Mother’s Day memories over the years conjure up a host of varied memories for me… bitter, excited, sad, thrilled, happy, depressed, joyous ~ for example: the Mother’s Day that Preston went back to his birth mom (one of the hardest days of my life); the Mother’s Day Ruth called and asked me if Bryan could come back and live with us (one of the best days of my life); and Mother’s Day yesterday, receiving homemade cards from my children (one of the best days ever!)

Before I adopted my children, I loathed hearing the sappy, wonderful Mother’s Day posts with mother’s bragging about their children, and what a wonderful day they had etc. etc. etc. I would just go away even more depressed and upset that I wasn’t a part of that “group.” But my experience yesterday was life changing…..

It started with my sons getting up early to make me an amazing feast of pancakes and breakfast burritos! They dished up my plate, and even though I wasn’t really hungry I ate everything they gave me. I was completely overstuffed (but with a smile on my face!)
I then received a card from my oldest son Bryan (15)… He wrote the most remarkable personalized message for me. Here is a little extract: “Thank you for being so loving to all of us and thanks for teaching us how to love. Your example means so much to me and watching you has helped me know what attributes I want to look for in my future spouse.”

He always makes my cards on plain white paper with his own sentiments and sketches… they are worth their weight in gold to me!

My son Bryan was also asked to give a talk during our church services yesterday as a tribute to mothers. He had two weeks to prepare and he asked me if I would tell him about his adoption. He and I talked a lot about it and he told me he wanted to share some of his feelings about coming to live with us (he came to live with us originally at 2 ½ and then again when he was 4 ½). He shared how he naturally and instantly called my husband “dad” and held his hand the first day he lived with us. He mentioned how he felt when he came back to live with us the second time and how he adjusted to calling me “mom.” I had never really heard how he felt or how he really felt about me as his mother until I received his card and heard his talk. The last few months I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy as a mother, especially with regards to my son Bryan. I felt unworthy to even be his mother and that I wasn’t a good enough example for him, so his words of praise and comfort were extra special for me and lifted my spirits immensely. I felt peace. I felt pure joy. I felt the immense importance of being a mother to my children. I felt and feel completely blessed to be their mother.

I also feel saddened that Ruth doesn’t get to experience the complete and utter joy of motherhood. I expressed my feelings to her about this and explained to her how grateful I am that she has allowed me this opportunity to be a mother. In her usual humble fashion, she expressed her gratitude to ME for taking such good care of her children, she thanked ME. She thanked ME! I love you Ruth and your amazing example of selflessness.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My “handsome” son

Today after I picked up my oldest son Bryan from his Driver’s Education class we were talking about his day at school. He is 15 and very studious… always a mountain of homework every night. He likes several girls and usually gives me the update if he talked to any of them during the day, if they say “hello” to him in the hall, or if he talks to any of them at lunch, etc.

During this conversation he mentioned that one of the girls said he was “handsome” – at this point I wanted to say “yeah, I agree with that, you are handsome like your dad!” Even though Bryan doesn’t have my husband and my genes, I think he does actually LOOK like us. I can’t make that comment about Bryan looking like either my husband or me because he knows genetically he doesn’t (he has let me know before that he doesn’t). He knows he LOOKS like his biological parents (although he has never met his biological father).

It is so hard for me not to say to my children, “you got your nose from your dad!” or “you got your curly hair from me.” I forget all the time that I didn’t actually give birth to them; they are such a part of me. My children do look like their biological families, but several of my friends have told me that they look like me too. Whenever I go to their school to pick any of them up, I usually get a comment from the secretary that goes something like this, “you are Bryan’s mom? Wow, he looks just like you!”

I just smile.