Monday, September 30, 2013

What I Love Most About Being a Mom...





























Even after the hardest of days...

And the biggest of tantrums...

Even after the endless conversations of discipline, respect, and good behavior...

And the time spent in the time out chair...

There is nothing I love more than my Little Dude.

There is nothing I'd rather be doing than loving him, teaching him, and learning and growing with him.

And even though we both have days that are hard, and we get annoyed with one another, and we go through phases of ups and downs... the one thing I love most about being a mom are the moments when that love is so big, when that love is so great, when that love is SO unbreakable, and when that love gives me the strength and courage to wake up and do it all over again-- hopefully doing a better job as his mom than I did the day before.

He makes me want to be a better person. And his tender hugs and kisses and I love you's after the long, challenging days make it that much more powerful and real.

As I type this this morning, I am reminded of the lyrics of a beautiful song. One of my favorites.

Great Big World:
by David Wilcox

I'm more tired than you
As I reach down to tuck you into bed
I've got to find your bear and the tiger 
That sleep beside your head

This love that I feel is ferocious as a lion
So brave and so gentle that I almost feel like crying

It's a great big world
It's a great big moon
It's a great big sky
And a great big love for you

Then I tell you a story of a lion who's your best friend
He gets you into trouble but he brings you home safe in the end
Some day all these stories may come to life as true
When a child of your own can wake that lion in you

It's a great big world
It's a great big moon
It's a great big sky
And a great big love for you

** What do you love most about being a mom?


Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Heart of the Matter






















Last year sometime, I had a wonderful phone conversation with Jessica Mockett, Producer and Director of the documentary The Heart of the Matter: Finding Light in the Darkness of Pornography Addiction. I remember as we talked, we laughed, I cried (surprise, surprise), I told her my experience, she told me of her passion for the project, and we spoke about how real this reality really is.

Jessica has spent much of her time, energy, talents and money to create and bring to life this much needed documentary of healing, awareness, and hope.... but she cannot do it alone! She, and the entire team, are asking for your help. The project needs financial backing, so please check out their KICKSTARTER PAGE, donate what you can, and help spread the love of this truly amazing work!


Image Credit

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Name is JENNIFER

Today's "My Name Is" post is in a little bit different format. It was so beautifully received in my inbox nearly two months ago and my heart was so touched by what it contained. 

This is Jennifer's story...

***

Hi, Jacy!

I am writing you because a friend of mine posted an article about one of your "My Name is…" articles. The stories that you have posted have been of strength for me because some of them are of sadness turned happy, about doing all that you can to make a dream come true, etc.

At this time in my life, reading those stories (and your story) has helped me know that I am going to make it… that I have to make it! I say this because on August 6th, it will be the one year anniversary of when my husband and 10 1/2 year old son, Sam, got in a horrible car accident. 

This is my story: 

On August 5, 2012 Sam and his dad were up all night finishing up reading The Hobbit.  They were up late and so the next day, I took our other 2 kids school shopping while Sam stayed behind.  When I got home, Sam was sitting on my bed drawing a picture and was very sad.  He was a bit upset because I didn't take him along with us.  I gave him a hug and told him that we would wait until the next day and we would go school shopping together, just him and me.  I wanted to just spend time with him. A couple of hours passed and my husband decided that he would take Sam into town to go school shopping themselves.  

At around 9:15 PM I received the worst phone call that I would ever receive.  

I learned that my son and husband had been in a terrible car accident; just 5 miles away from our house.  

I went to the scene of the accident.  We did not know what had happened and all I saw was our car, with the doors open and a body laying there. There was an ambulance and others there but they weren't doing anything.  I denied the fact that it was our car and that the body laying there was my son, Sam. Unconscious, breathing very heavily and with a bloody nose. This could not be Sam!

As I waited for the Flight for Life helicopter to come, I stood by my boy, talked to him and told him that his mom was here and that everything was going to be ok.  When the helicopter finally came, I begged to go with him but they said "no, there is no room".  My heart wept because I did not know if I would ever see him again; the nurse on board told me that he was in really bad shape. My husband was also taken to the hospital because he had received two compound fractures in both of his arms. 

When I finally made it to the ER, I stood outside their rooms ( they were right next to each other) and  with all of the noise and the confusion, the wonder of what the heck was going on?! was driving me crazy. I prayed to God and pleaded for both of them to be ok. I just wanted it to all go away, to be over and have the nurse come out and say "everything is going to be alright".

Well, a nurse did come out and after she updated me, I wanted her to just go away!  She told me that my husband, despite his broken arms, was stable. Then she told me that Sam was in very serious condition and they were taking him to do a CAT scan to see if there was any internal problems (which they knew there probably was because on the way to the hospital his lungs had filled with blood and he had to have a blood transfusion). 

I sat down in shock and disbelief. This could not be happening to my son and my husband. I could not lose them! We were a family! A family, forever. A family that was strong! 

The doctor’s came into the room where I was sitting and they told me the devastating news: 

Sam had suffered severe brain trauma and his whole left side was damaged. He had 4 fractures in his skull. 

How could this have been?  He was buckled, he had just spent an amazing evening with his father and he was only 10 1/2 years old. But there was nothing they could do. They could operate to lessen the swelling, but they knew he would not survive.  

My Sam!  

My sweet, sweet boy.  

My child who I love with all my heart!  































There was so much going through my mind, so much that I could not believe.  There was so much more I wanted to do with him, so much more I wanted to talk to him about, so much more life he had to offer.  

WHY?? Why him?  Why not me?  WHY??

We asked if we could make him comfortable and take to a room where we could spend as much time as we could with him. They wanted to take my husband to surgery right away because they didn't want infection to set in, but we demanded that we have the chance to spend time with our son.

We told him how much we loved him. We hugged him and we tried to be so positive.  His dad talked to him about his drawings, his Lego creations, his love of bugs. By 5:00 AM the time had come and they took my husband in for surgery- despite that our son was barely holding on, surgery could not be postponed any longer.

There I was all by myself. 

I was not sure how to react. 

I sat there,  holding Sam's hand and over and over again wondering WHY? At about 8:30 AM, I took my Sam’s hand, while his dad was still in surgery, and told him that he didn't need to hang on anymore.  I told him that Dad would understand. I wanted him to go with the angels because I did not want him to be in anymore pain. I told him that I loved him so very much and would miss him like crazy. From the moment he had been admitted into the hospital, my Sam hadn't made one noise. But right after I said these things, he coughed. I told him that Dad loved him and would miss him and he coughed, again.  I did the same for his sister and his brother and each time, he coughed.  He was telling me he loved us, too. He could not communicate any other way, but that was his way. I had a smile of happiness, but one of sadness, also. This tender reassurance comforted me to know that he understood me, that he was there spiritually and that he was going to be alright up in heaven.  

Around 9:15 that morning, he took his very last breath. I cried, I denied it, I tried to breathe, and I cried more and more.  My sister in law hugged me and rubbed my back.  I am thankful she was in there when he took his last breath, but I sure would have preferred my husband.  

Mike’s surgery lasted for 6 hours and then we had to wait a couple hours after that for the anesthetic to wear off. I decided to keep Sam in the room because I wanted Mike to have the opportunity to say one last goodbye.  As I waited for him recover and come to, I was able to talk to, lay with, look at, and count Sam’s fingers and toes. I was able to just be with him.  I was even able to tell him his last bedtime story.   

My son, Sam, was gone.  He only lived a short 10 1/2 years.  

Finally my husband was awake and I had to tell him the devastating news. The kids were on their way and I had to tell them, too.  Talk about being thrown into a pit and not knowing how to get out!  But with support from family and social workers, I did it.

The evening was growing near and I knew my kids were getting anxious and I knew that I needed to say goodbye. This was the hardest goodbye I have ever, ever, had to do.  I didn't know what had just happened and I had so many questions and wanted God to answer them all NOW!!! I couldn't just leave without knowing the answers.  But, with prayers I was able to say my last goodbye. I kissed him one last time, I hugged him one last time, and I said goodbye to him one last time.  

My Name is Jennifer and I am a Survivor.

My Name is Jennifer and a mother of THREE Beautiful Children and will always be.

My Name is Jennifer and I have faith that I will be with my son again.































This past year has been a very trying year. With all the "first's" coming around, my husband hasn't been able to work for almost 5 months after because of his injuries, my 13 year old daughter has been going through so much... I have questioned my belief in God, I have questioned my belief in my own life many times, I have questioned so much and the one thing that keeps me going is my amazing family. I have, at times, wanted to give up- especially with it getting closer and closer to that dreaded date of August 6th. There is a saying "Take it one day at a time" well,  I have had to change that to "take it one minute at a time"because that is all I can do right now.

I just wanted to share my story with you. I felt touched by your story, and the stories of others, and saying "My Name is Jennifer and…." really puts a stamp (or something) on it. Not exactly sure what, but it just helps to say that.

You, Sam, are my sunflower. You were the joy, the love, happiness you brought to us all.


*Remember that the purpose of this series is to open our hearts, to interact, to uplift, to support and to grow. Jennifer will be reading your comments so you may comment directly to her. 

Jennifer, I love you. I am so glad we have connected. Your courage and resiliency amaze me and I know you will see Sam again-- there is no doubt in my mind. You are stronger than you know. Thank you for sending these beautiful words to me and for letting me share them here. You have enriched my life.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Being Scared





















I have been scared many, many, times in my life time.

I was scared to sing in the 5th grade school talent show.

I'm pretty sure my voice cracked.

I was scared on the first day of 6th grade.

Would the kids tease me for my camo shirt and pleather skirt?

I was scared to run for 9th grade student body.

I lost. All of my friends made it.

I was scared to try out for cheerleading sophomore year.

I didn't make the squad. All of my friends made it.

I was scared to run for sophomore student body, right after I found out I didn't make cheer.

I was thrilled when they announced I had won!

I was scared to try out for cheerleading another year. What if I didn't make it again?

I couldn't believe my eyes when the screaming girls ran into my house and told me I had made it!

I was scared to ask a boy I really liked to the Preference dance.

He said "Yes" only to take off with his friends and leave me at the dance .

I was scared to ask another boy I liked to the Preference dance the following year.

He said "No"- someone else had already asked him.

I was scared to audition for the leading role in the school musical.

I got the part!

I was scared when my teacher said at our first rehearsal "Now, Jacy, if you are poopy, the whole show will be poopy. You can't be poopy!"

I'm pretty sure I tripped at least 5 times on opening night, the flying gear didn't work when it was supposed to and I may have forgotten a line or two or three. But people still gave our cast and crew a standing ovation- it was a successful show!

I was scared to graduate highschool.

What was next for me?

I was scared when I packed my car and drove up to my first year of college.

I made some choices that weren't that great, and I made some of the most rewarding choices.

I was scared to get married the first time.

I was so young.

I was sacred to have a baby.

I dreaded the pain of giving birth.

I was scared when they handed me my 6lb human being and expected me to know how to care for him.

I didn't have the slightest idea how to be a mother. I had never even been around a newborn before.

I was scared on "discovery day".

I knew our life would be entirely different from that moment on.

I was scared the day I sat in a lawyers office and started the divorce process.

Only 5 years and my marriage had failed. My insides screamed "FAILURE!"

I was scared to be a single mom.

Need I say more?

I was scared to go on that first date post-divorce.

Me dating again? Really?

I was really scared when I started to feel more for Seth.

This meant I was allowing myself to trust again.

I was even more scared when I wanted to tell him that I loved him.

This meant I might actually be willing to open my heart up again.

I was scared to get married for the second time.

What if this marriage fails? What if I get hurt again?

I was scared to start a blog.

What if people don't like me? What if people leave nasty comments?

I was scared when my Grammie passed away.

I know I'll see her again, but what if.... what if I don't?

I was scared to accept the invitation to speak at the UCAP conference.

I am excited and honored! But still... I am nervous. What if I am disappointment?

I am scared to be the director of a nonprofit organization. 

The legal side of things, the business side of things, the actual mission side of things. It is overwhelming.

I am scared to have more children someday.

What if the same thing happens again? What if I have children and it all falls apart again?


I have been scared so many different times in my life. And each and every time, no matter what the situation is (was), it feels like it is the scariest. And each and every time, I have been afraid to fail and afraid of what other's might think of me.  But regardless of how I felt or how scared I was or whatever anyone thought of me, the outcome has always been a consistent mix: I have lost some things, I have won some things, I have been heartbroken at times, I have been joyous at times.

I remember watching a commercial during the NBA finals a long time ago and hearing Michael Jordan say this:

“I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

I'm not really sure I understood what it really meant back then.... but now I think do.... after almost 30 years of ups and downs... I think I get it.

The one thing I have realized about life... the one thing I have realized most specially in these last 4 years of my life is that.... I don't EVER want to give up! I would rather be scared out of my mind and TRYING rather than in a stand still, afraid of my own fear, the fear of the unknown, the fear of failing, the fear of losing or the fear of messing up. I don't ever want my own fear to be what cripples me.

Being scared is scary. But being scared is a valuable emotion.

Because when we are scared, it means that we are vulnerable to all of the possibilities- the good and the bad. When we are scared, in that very uncomfortable territory, we allow a more exuberant and defining type of growth to take place. This opens a new and very promising door so that whatever the outcome, the next time we try, we are even more prepared, confident and stable. We may win. We may lose. Some may be big, important things. Some may be small, insignificant things. But that's not the point. The point is that we tried. The point is that we never gave up! The point is that won't settle for treading the same old water because we are afraid.

I think John Wayne says it so well:

"Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway."

**Are you scared of failing? Are you scared of what other's might think? 

Image Credit (my dear old friend from high school- thanks Angie ;)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Yay or Nay: Facial Hair?

We're driving along the freeway and this conversation really happens:

Little Dude: Seth, you have the coolest mustache ever!

Seth: Thanks, Dude! But the real question is..... whose mustache do you like better? Mine? Or Mom's?

Little Dude busts up laughing.... and Seth smirks....

My head whips over and I give them both the glare. I immediately flip down the visor to inspect the thin tuft of dark hair that crowds the left corner of my upper lip. The sunlight accentuates the growth and between my 13 straggler eyebrows and the stache, I'm not sure which is worse? I just don't know what on earth to do with it? You can't shave it, right? It'll grow back thicker. And laser doesn't work, right? It's too fine of hair. I remember getting a lot of advice in the comments from this post last year... I just never implemented them. I suppose it's time to review the tips you wonderful ladies gave me and take some action! (And if you have any other tips that might help, do share! :)

But that's not what this post is really about today. While it may be totally senseless, this post is to get back Mr. Seth and pose a question to all of you.

YAY or NAY: Facial Hair?





























Seth is pretty proud of this little beaut. Okay, so it's not all that little anymore.... it actually just began hanging over his lip a few days ago.  It's taken him two months to see this much progress and just today he very seriously said as he was brushing his fingers through it :

"You know, it takes a lot of dedication and determination to grow good looking facial hair."

I honestly kind of dig it. Is that strange? I don't know.... I guess I really like that he doesn't look like anyone else around. I like that he thinks it's cool and so, he does it-- regardless of what other people think or if people with mustaches are stereotyped :)

So..... you can be honest... it won't hurt Seth's feelings... haha... would you be embarrassed if your man grew out a stache like this? Would you let him keep it? Are you a fan of facial hair? SPILL THE BEANS :) :)


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Propel

I spend a lot of time saying things like: 

"Yeah right, I'm not very good at that..." 

or 

"What if I blow it?" 

or 

"I can't do that because...." 

or 

"I'm scared to do that because...."

It'd be interesting to see a percentage of how much negative I say and think, compared to the positive I say and think. Am I a postive person to be around? Or am I positive but always rebutting compliments and acknowledgments with downer retorts? Or am I total drag? (Don't answer that :)

I found this quote and I love this quote for so many reasons! But what I love most is how it says PROPEL. What a GREAT word! If I think positively, even just a little bit, I will be driven in the right direction. YES!


pro·pel

transitive verb \prə-ˈpel\
: to push or drive (someone or something) forward or in a particular direction






























Image Credit

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Name is MARLA

(If you haven't read part 1 of this piece, the story of the birth mother, read it HERE).

My name is Marla.  I am an adoptive mom.  

This is the story of how one sweet, special little soul made her way into our hearts and our home, and how we came to love her and her birth mother more than words can describe. 






















My husband, Scott, and I have four biological children.  We have three girls and a boy.  





















After having our son, who is now seven, I felt that our family was complete.  My husband felt differently.  Several times over the last two years he would tell me that he felt someone was missing in our family.  I didn’t want to discount his feelings, but I did not have the same vibes!  Last October, Scott came to me again and said he had felt strongly we should look into adoption.  I thought it over and again did not come to the same conclusion.  About a month later, I had some very special experiences and I knew that our lives would never be the same.  I came to feel those same feelings that my husband had—our family was not complete.  The feelings were so strong that at times I would cry because the void of this family member not being with us made my heart ache with emptiness.  Even with these overwhelming feelings, it was easy to question our decision because we know there are many couples who struggle with infertility and so badly want to adopt a child.  I was struggling with this one day when a good friend called me.  She has three stepsons, three biological sons, and two adopted daughters.  She said something beautiful that I will never forget.  She told me, “there is a baby for everyone.”  We came to truly believe this ourselves.  As we started the process to adopt, I did a ton of reading.  I found time and time again, that with adoption, families truly felt like they were led to THEIR baby.  Whether they believed in God, a higher power, or fate; it was always the same—they had found “their baby.”

The last week of November, we began the process of preparing to adopt:  FBI fingerprints, choosing an agency, filling out paperwork, having a home study done, getting referrals, making copies of our financial documents, and making our profile book.  It was quite overwhelming.  We were going to let it go until the holidays were over, but I felt an urgency to get it done.  It only took us seven weeks to get everything ready so we could start being presented to expectant moms looking for an adoptive family.  We were ready to go in record speed!  

We had chosen an adoption agency to go through, but we were also letting all our family and friends know of our desire to adopt.  In the middle of February, I had a dear friend call me.  Three years ago, she had taken her families profile book around to all the adoption attorneys in town.  On Tuesday, the 13th of February, she got a call from one of these attorneys.  He still had her profile book and was wondering if she was still wanting to adopt.  He had a situation where the birth mom was due soon and she needed to find an adoptive family quickly.  My friend did not feel like this was a baby for their family, but she said she had an overwhelming feeling to call and tell me about this situation.  I contacted the attorney the next day and we interviewed with this particular birth mom a few days later.  We had to wait almost three days to find out her decision.  It was a grueling wait.  The final night before we learned of her decision, my feelings about this experience started to change and I sensed that this wasn’t “our” baby.  I did feel however, that we were supposed to make contact with this attorney.  The next day we got the news that she had indeed placed her baby with another family.  We were sad, but not surprised.  I had given my only copy of our profile book to the attorney, who had then given it to this expecting mom.  I immediately ordered two more profile books; one for me and one to take back over to the attorney.  Both of those profile books sat on my nightstand for almost six weeks.  On Friday, April 5th I woke up and felt so strongly that I needed to take this profile book over to the attorney.  I had some errands to run and limited time so I tried to shrug off the feeling, but it was strong.  I headed to the attorneys office, only to find the door locked.  As I was walking back to my car, I felt I should go back and knock.  Sure enough, the attorney was there.  He invited me to come in and sit down. He told me he had been working with an expectant mom for a while.  She had called him that morning and was ready to pick the adoptive family for her baby.  He gave me a sheet she had typed up about herself and her situation and asked if we wanted to have our profile book shown to her.  My husband and I talked about it and we were thrilled with the prospect of having her consider our family.  Five days later we got the call that she had picked US as the adoptive family for her unborn child.  

While we were waiting to be matched, I did a lot of reading.  Everyone we talked to suggested we do a semi-open adoption; where pictures and information are exchanged through a blog or through an agency, but there is no actual physical contact. Our social worker encouraged me to read a few books about Open Adoption.  Reading these books was very difficult and stressful.  Having an open adoption was a new idea to me.  This meant we would have contact with the birth mom.  We would develop a relationship with her and she would become part of our family.  I was scared about being so open, but after I finished the books, I had the most overwhelming feeling we needed to do an open adoption.  I was scared, but I trusted it would be the best thing for the adoptive child.  Once we met Heather, having an open adoption wasn’t scary anymore.  It felt natural.
We met Heather when she still had five months of her pregnancy left to go.  This was truly a gift as we had time to develop a relationship with her.  We would text, email, she gave me a mother’s day pedicure, we went to lunch, she came to our house and met our kids; in essence, she became an important part of our lives.  I like how she put it one day.  It was something to the effect of we were both trying to understand each other’s worlds.  The words to an old World War II song, written by Irving Berlin, sum up the feelings that started to develop at this time:
“I’ll be loving you.  Always.  With a love that’s true.  Always.  Not for just an hour.  Not for just a day.  Not for just a year.  But Always.”

This was a different kind of love:  The love between a birth mom and an adoptive mom, AND, the love this Birth Mom and Adoptive Mom SHARED for this unborn child.  






























I’ll never forget going to the doctor’s appointment with Heather where she found out she had gestational diabetes.  She was so sick from drinking the “orange drink.”  She was puking at the doctors and I knew she just felt horrible.  I wondered why her pregnancy had to be so hard when she was doing the most unselfish thing; placing her baby.  I left the appointment and she texted me about five minutes later.  She sensed that I was worried and she didn’t want me to.  I told her I wasn’t worried, it was just so hard for me to watch her go through all these difficult things.  Then she sent me a comforting text;  “adoption, though hard, is a beautiful thing.” 























It is a surreal experience to sit in a hospital room and hold a seconds old newborn, and wonder how it came to be yours.  One can never imagine the myriad of emotions that comes with that experience.  Heather’s water broke on Sunday, August 25th at 9:00.  Sophie was born at 10:59 p.m. Scott and I felt so blessed to be able to be present at her birth.  This was a gift, we felt, from Heather.  

After Sophie was born, Heather decided she needed a little time before she held her.  I will never forget the day she came back to the hospital to hold Sophie.  It was a Thursday. Around 1:00, Heather texted me to let me know she was here in the hospital and she would like to come up and see Sophie.  I will not lie.  I think it's just the natural instinct of human beings to hold close those we love and not want to share.  My stomach did a little flip.  Heather later told me she stood downstairs for 10 minutes trying to get up enough courage to come up to NICU.  This is the kind of courage that I hope Sophie inherits from her.  I'll never forget when she walked into NICU.  Heather was already crying.  She seemed so fragile.  I was feeding Sophie and we just talked for a bit.  It took an insane amount of courage on my part to ask Heather if she would like to feed Sophie.  She said she did, so we switched chairs and she fed Sophie.  Something magical happened in that moment.  I wasn't jealous and I didn't want to hurry and take Sophie back.  My heart changed.  I could see the absolute beauty in sharing Sophie and the immense amount of love that this sweet little spirit had brought with her, and would continue to generate.  How humbling to remember that it is because of Heather's love that I even had Sophie in the first place.  The love that binds an adoptive mom and a birth mom is a wonderful thing.  I loved Heather before I even knew her.  When I met her, I loved her even more.  But I couldn't imagine loving her more than in that moment when I saw her holding and feeding Sophie.  This isn't the kind of love we create; this is the love that is bestowed on us by our Savior, who loves us perfectly.  This was a defining moment in my relationship with Heather.  It was a defining moment in my life.  Heather had courage, and I had courage.  We both acted on our courage and we were richly blessed.  I will never forget when Heather left.  She handed Sophie to me and said, "Here baby, you need to go back to your momma."  Those are some of the most tender words ever spoken.  When Heather left, I just sat there and held Sophie and was overwhelmed with the love in that little NICU room.  It had just become a holy place.  

We stayed in NICU with Sophie for eight days.   During this time, my husband and I were able to share some very special texts with Heather.  The morning after Heather had left the hospital, I got a text and I could tell that Heather was hurting.  She pleaded with me to let Sophie know how much she loved her. She asked me to kiss her for her and to tell her how perfect she was.   From this text, I realized what a gift I can give each morning and night as I kiss Sophie for Heather and tell her how much Heather loves her. This was also a time where we could really see the value of the open adoption.  Heather can tell her all these things herself.  Someday when Sophie wants to know why she was placed for adoption, we can tell her and Heather can tell her.  I truly believe that Sophie will understand, even at a young age, the sacrifice that her birth mother made for her.  It will be real and it will be concrete and it will be overflowing with love because she will know Heather.  That is one of the beautiful things about open adoption.

The last night we were in the hospital, we couldn’t get Sophie to go to sleep. Scott put her down around midnight, but then she started fussing just a few minutes later.  I got up and rocked her and tried to get her to go back to sleep.  She was pretty much up until her next feeding time at 2:00 a.m.  I was so tired and just wanted to sleep, but then I remembered how lucky I was to be there holding her. That night, I held her for Heather.  I rocked her with all the tenderness I had.  I kissed her and caressed her cheek.  It didn't matter anymore that it was now the middle of the night.  This night, it wasn't about me.  While I was rocking her, I had a great realization come over me.  I was thinking back to when I only had one child.  I couldn't imagine loving another child anymore than I had this first one.  But then I had another child, and I realized that a mother's love isn't divided, it is multiplied

In a way we can't understand, our love just grows.  I realized that this same principle applied to Heather and I.  Sophie's love for Heather, or Heather's love for Sophie, doesn't diminish my love for her or her love for me.  Heather's love and my love for Sophie can combine to create something beautiful.  And Sophie's love for Heather and Sophie's love for me will combine and this little girl will be able to love more than she can imagine.  It is hard to write in words what I felt that night, but I grasped something beautiful.  


On Saturday, September 7th, I gave Sophie her morning kiss from Heather and my heart ached.  It’s that physical, deep heartache.  I sat in the rocking chair, feeding Sophie and the tears fell down my face.  As much as I didn’t want it to happen, I knew that Heather could very well be feeling the exact opposite of the immense joy that I had been feeling.  She could be feeling a deep, hollow, profound sense of loss.  I mourned with her that morning as I held and rocked the flesh and blood of her womb.  And then it came, the reminder that had come to me numerous times during this adoption, “Be still, and know that I am God.”  I couldn’t run to Heather and hold her and have her cry on my shoulder.  And even if I did, it couldn’t fill the empty spot that I imagined in her heart.  A Latter-Day Saint Church leader has said, “All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. “  I believe this is a profound point of doctrine that can be embraced by all Christianity.  I found peace knowing that the Savior could “hold” Heather in His arms and He could help her heal, and find peace in ways that I would never even understand.  

Thus, we move forward.  This sweet babe came straight from God.  She came to me through Heather.  I believe that it will be her marvelous experience in life to travel through her mortal existence with God’s arms, Heather’s arm, Scott’s arms and My arms guiding her, loving her, and protecting her. I can’t think of a more beautiful picture in my minds eye than Sophie surrounded by God, Heather, Scott and Me. 






















I am an adoptive mother in an open adoption relationship.  It is real.  It is full of love.  It is full of grace.  It is beautiful.  I hope by sharing my very personal and intimate feelings, others will be more open and supportive of the beautiful relationship that can be built with a Birth Mother.  This has been one of the greatest privileges of my life, and we have just begun the journey.  

*Remember that the purpose of this series is to open our hearts, to interact, to uplift, to support and to grow. Marla will be reading your comments so you may comment directly to her. 

Isn't this just so touching? This is just tugging at my heartstrings and gently whispering that we are part of something that is so much grander and more magnificent than we could ever comprehend. Thank you Marla for sharing this tender portrayal of love, friendship and something truly selfless.

{Read part 1, the beautiful perspective of the birth mom, here}


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Letting Go

This is an oldie.... but one of my favorites.... because I have been working on this every single day since I wrote it in August of 2012... and it still seems to be something that is challenging for me....



I tend to hold onto things.

Don't we all?

I hold onto big things, and I hold onto really trivial and insignificant things.

Take for instance last week at FedEx. I was shipping some packages to my cute friends, as well as to Seth's grandmas. The guy at the counter told me he estimated it would be about $20. Well after 30 minutes of filling out all the labels and getting everything ready, I nearly pooped my pants when the total came to $65.

WHAAAAA?

It was all said and done... I didn't have time to go elsewhere... so I paid the money and I left. I squeezed out a few tears in my car. I called and told Seth about it, I called and told my mom about it, and then I told my friend (whom I met for lunch) about it. And I wasn't necessarily upset about the money, I was just so caught off guard by it... and I was a little miffed because there was nothing I could do to change it.

This wasn't the end of the world scenario, so I should be able to let it go, right?

I wish. It's been 9 days since and I find myself still perturbed and reviewing what I should have done instead. All the time I've wasted... all for $65 bucks at the FedEx place.

Can you imagine how I cope with and handle other, more significant things? Like the dissolution of my marriage?

Woah. Woah.

Playing back past mistakes, choices and problems may seem empowering, but it really has the opposite effect-- it strips you of your own self-control. Stewing, stressing and worrying serve no purpose in my life, they just complicate it and make it gloomy and quite unpleasant.

So, here's what I'm consciously working on now so that I don't live my life in such a state of regret.

A Few Ways to Help You LET GO:

#1) Forget about the uncontrollable. Focus on what YOU can control.

#2) Realize just who exactly is hurting who. By holding onto anger due to other people or unfortunate circumstances, you are doing more damage to YOURSELF than to anyone else.

#3) Train you brain. When you start thinking negative, repetitive thoughts that you've already processed a million times, FORCE yourself to stop and change your thought process to something else- something positive and more worth while.

#4) Change the way you look things. Instead of placing importance on how you were hurt, or all the reasons it was bad, think of what you learned from the experience and the blessings that came because of it.

#5) Remember that bitterness cannot bring happiness. So, either change it, accept it or remove yourself from the situation. Those are your options.

#6) Take responsibility when necessary. People aren't perfect, and you're not either. Forgive and ask for forgiveness (no matter what that entails for each situation).

#7) Get rid of all the toxicity in your life. If it's continually toxic and is bringing you down, flush it down the toilet. A particular person, a  specific place, a draining blog, an abusive ex-boyfriend, a memory that keeps haunting you, etc... if it's of poisonous nature and is limiting your potential to move on and grow and be happy, it's not worth the risk anymore. Period.

#8) Throw it away, literally. Write a letter expressing everything you feel. Word vomit as I like to call it. Barf it up people! Don't hold back... then after a few days, reread your words. If you're like me, you'll be surprised at how immature, un-Christlike and selfish you sound. I can't tell you how many letters I've written (to others and just to myself) and reread with complete and utter shame. So, I throw them out with the disgusting trash. By doing this, I'm not only venting all my irrational and spiteful thoughts, I'm also trying to discard those thoughts and their destructiveness out of my life, too. And no matter how tempting it may be and how justified you feel those words contained in that letter are, don't send it! The point is to help you let go.... not make a fool out of yourself. Maintain your dignity.

#9) Don't react. If you do need to confront, give it a day or two or even three. Compose your thoughts, think things through and ensure you won't regret your actions and words. This will help you get back on level ground, thus making your confrontation less hostile and more productive.

And lastly...

#10) Never "SHOULD" on yourself. (Yes, it's supposed to sound like "never shi** on yourself") Delete terms like "I should have done this..." or "I should have said this...." from your vocabulary. There is no sense "should-ing" on yourself... it's messy, it's stinky, you know better than that and it's POINTLESS. You can't go back in time... nothing can change what happened... or how you acted... or what you should have done. Quit giving energy to something that has no value to your progression. Every minute that passes and you're feeling disappointed, injustice, bitterness or resentful are minutes that you will never, ever get back. 


You can be freed from even the biggest of hurts, setbacks, trespasses, mistakes and things that just can't be made sense of. It doesn't mean that they're condoned, that they're significance diminishes or that they're forgotten, and it doesn't mean that it won't be hard at times or even painful, but what it does mean is that you don't have to be defined and held captive by those things any longer.

So, whatever is invading your thoughts, draining you, bogging you down, and barricading your door to happiness... work on LETTING IT GO... because you've only got one life to live!

So do I.


**Do have the ability to let things go? What secrets have worked for you?

 P.S. If things seem too large or too hurtful to let go on your own, it might be wise to seek professional help.

Image Credit

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dreams



























Lately I've been dreaming a lot...

About all the many things I want to do...

The person I want to become...

What I'd love to accomplish....

Oh, there are so many things!

Like being a Broadway star, or a published writer of some sort, or a folksy singer-songwriter, or an interior designer to name a few. I'd love to be a labor and delivery nurse, or in forensics solving crimes, or maybe even a beautician. Wedding planning sounds like a dream job and for some reason, I can't seem to let go of the idea to be drug addiction therapist. Owning my own little fashion boutique sounds absolutely charming, and buying junky old houses, gutting them, redesigning, and then flipping them for a hefty profit sounds like a riot!

I have so many hopes and dreams... many of which I may never attain.... but it's still fun to get lost in the possibilities every now and again.... this morning was one of those moments I guess :)

So, get lost for just a minute this morning and tell me, what are some of your hopes and dreams? No dream is too grand ;) I'd love to hear!

Image Credit

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Name is HEATHER


My name is Heather and I want to share my story of love and faith and even fear- fear of making the right choice for not only myself, but for my 19 month old daughter and my unborn child.























My story starts with my 19 month old daughter, my everything, Harper

I found out I was pregnant with Harper in 2011 and gave birth to her in February 2012. I chose to be a single mother and had no contact with her father after the 5th month of pregnancy. As a teenager, I was told that I could never have children so when I found out that I was pregnant all those years later, it was a huge shock to say the least! It wasn't until I was pregnant that I knew how much I wanted to be a mom. 

Things progressed just fine and then I found out Harper had a hip problem. She was born with congenital hip dysplasia. This means her hip was out of socket. We set off from St. George, Utah and headed to  Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City. They attempted one surgery and she was put into a full body cast. After ten days we found out that the surgery had failed. We went back to Salt Lake City and this time, it was much more intense. She was placed in a body cast for 3 months. She has since healed beautifully and is my happy little girl. But this wasn't all that was happening in our lives during that time. 




















Right before I received word that Harper needed surgery, I had just found out I was pregnant again

I went to the doctor one morning after being very sick and they told me that I was having a miscarriage. At this time, I was only a few weeks along. They had me come back to the doctor for a check up two weeks later, they did an ultrasound and there she was- heart beat and all. I was so scared.

I had thought about doing adoption at this point and I was really leaning towards it. It took me about a week of thinking about it before I made my choice. I chose adoption. I went and saw an attorney and he told me what my options were. I knew in my heart that adoption was the best choice for me. I was going through so much with Harper and her being in the body cast and I wanted to make sure that the baby would have the best possible life. I spoke with the baby's father and he said if that's what I wanted to do he trusted me. I can't say for sure what he thought or felt, but I knew he was hurting. I felt guilty over my choice and it hurt really bad, but I wanted to make sure I did the best I could for the baby, Harper and myself. I knew I could take care of Harper, but I did not know if I could take care of two children alone... especially if the baby's father and I didn't work out. 


My attorney called one afternoon and said he had some profiles for me to look at. I went and picked them up and he told me to take my time with them. He gave me three profiles and I went on my way. After looking at the books from the outside, I picked the one I liked the most and started to read and to look at all of the pictures inside. This is were things became very real for me. I had made my choice with out even looking at the other books. When I looked and read through Marla and Scott's book my heart started to melt and I felt the spirit with me. In the back of my mind I thought that I needed to at least look at the other books, so I did. I flipped through them. But my mind was already made up. I called my attorney within one hour and gave him the news that I had chosen Marla and Scott. I felt instantly connected to them. It's so hard to explain, but I knew they were the ones. He told me he would call and let them know and set up a meeting for us to meet. That day came and I could not sleep the night before because I was so nervous. I finally got to the appointment and I walked in and they were sitting there. We were introduced and we started to talk. A calm feeling came over me and I was completely comfortable with them. I told them in the meeting that the fathers major factor was that she was adopted by a good LDS family. This couple was not only LDS, but they were amazing people. I am the only LDS member in my immediate family but I do not attend church. The baby's father was raised by very devoted Mormons and amazing people. He is also LDS but does not attend church. But he is very proud of his religion and his heritage. I knew that it was a match.  We finished our meeting and we walked outside together. I knew in my heart that I had already made the right choice, that I had made a good one, and that I was so blessed to have met them. I felt safe and I was not so scared anymore. As we walked out, we talked about doctor appointments and I told Marla she could come to every appointment with me and I would keep her updated on everything. I handed her the ultrasound picture and her eyes were large with love already. Her and Scott both seemed so happy but I could tell they were also scared. Scared that things would not work out, or that I would change my mind. I told them they could keep the ultra sound picture and that it was my way of saying I know my choices and I have made my choice and your guys are my choice. They asked me if I had other pictures for me to keep. I said I did, but I really didn't. I don't know if they know that or not, but I wanted them to keep that picture with them because it was important for me that they had it. 

















Marla went to every doctor appointment with me, we texted almost daily, and emailed quite a bit. I shared everything with her. I loved her. She became one of the most important people in my life. As my pregnancy got further along, I started to have complications and I was getting more scared. I was put on bed rest because I kept having contractions and they found I had Gestational Diabetes. Then a few weeks later I found out I had Polyhydrominos (too much fluid around the baby) trying to control the diabetes was a pain cause I would either be to high or way to low. I was stressed every minute of everyday. With the Poly, I was carrying so much extra fluid and it was starting to hurt so bad and I also had diabetes witch makes you and the baby even larger. I was falling apart. I was so scared. I could barley move and at 34 weeks, my doctor told me that preeclampsia was on its way. Another life threatening problem for the baby and me. To say the least, I was falling apart and Marla was there to hug me and hold my hand the whole way. 

It was at this time that I found out my sister-in-law, Tara, was killed in a motorcycle accident. I was heart broken. I could not stop crying. Everything was horrible and I honestly could not take anymore. I was so scared with all of these health problems that I did not know what to do. I could not go to Tara's funeral because of the health problems and that hurt me so much. I could not be there for my brother Paul, his kids, my family or her family. I could not say goodbye. I begged my doctor to let me have the baby early but his hands were tied. I was in and out of the hospital and I could not physically take care of Harper. I was heart broken in so many ways. 


By week 36, I could not walk more than 20 feet without being in pain, so I had no other choice but to go to my moms house. This day was already hard because it was Tara's birthday. I was very emotional and all I wanted to do was spend the day with Harper. I put Harper to bed at 9:00 pm and was sitting on my moms couch when my water broke. I was freaking out because with Poly, all the extra fluid gushing can cause the cord to prolapse. I called Marla, and then my doctor. He wanted to make sure the cord was okay before we got in the car, just in case we needed the ambulance. The cord ended up being fine and we were on our way to the hospital. My best friend Rachel was already there when we arrived, and Scott and Marla too. 


I had Sophie Ann at 10:59 pm on Aug 25th, 2013. Yes, this was just two and a half weeks ago.


She was 4 weeks early and due to the diabetes she weighed 7.5 lbs. 


She is beautiful. 


She is perfect. 

















She was born on Tara's birthday. 

I felt blessed and felt calm and I knew Tara was there and that it was no coincidence that Sophie was born on her birthday. 


Rachel was holding my hand the whole time never left my side. Marla and Scott were standing there and I will never forget Marla kissing my forehead and telling me how beautiful Sophie was. I saw Sophie for a moment before she went to the NICU. Marla asked if I wanted her to stay with me, while I was being wheeled to my room, but I told her that she and Scott should be with the baby. I was told Sophie was doing good and that Scott and Marla were with her and had not left her side. I knew I made the right choice and I was so excited for them and so happy for them. I'm sure they were scared that I could change my mind, but that was actually the furthest thing from my mind. I knew she was safe and happy and she was with her parents. 


During my hospital stay, I was kinda out of it and so our communication between each other lacked. But once I got feeling better, things went back to normal and I fell even more in love with Marla and Scott. I'm so happy for them and I know that I have made the best possible choice for the well being of both of my children. 


The next week we went to court to finalize everything and I was doing good. No tears yet. I was being very strong. Then the judge said something about "trusting" this couple and I lost it. I just wanted to hold onto both of them and tell them "Yes! Yes! I do trust you and I love you both more than words can ever explain!" In that moment, I felt that my Dad (who had passed away when I was a little girl) was standing by my side. I felt that Tara was there. But most of all, I felt that Heavenly Father was there all along. 
































I love you Sophie and I always will! You will be with me everyday in my heart and my soul. I am very excited to watch you grow and that I get to be a part of your life. 

My name is Heather and I am a mother and a birth mother, and I love and I am loved.  I feel extremely blessed.


**Remember that the purpose of this series is to open our hearts, to interact, to uplift, to support and to grow. Heather will be reading your comments so you may comment directly to her. 

I have known Heather since the 1st grade... and her story has touched my heart so much so, that I reached out and asked her to share this with all of you- just 3 weeks after it all took place. Isn't this post just full of love? There is no other way to describe it. SO. MUCH. LOVE. Thank you Heather for being so brave and SO full of love. You amaze me.

**Part 2 of this story, from another beautiful perspective, is HERE.


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