Bonus Siblings!

January 15th, 2014

3 DucklingsFirst and foremost, let me say this: I was blessed with wonderful siblings! I'm not talking about my natural siblings, I'm talking about my adoptive siblings. We were six in all, with the last four of us being adopted. Although my older sisters remember helping mom care for us, and often remind me that we younger ones were the source of many of their 'woes', my memories of childhood center mostly around our parents' 'Second Family', my three brothers. I was, of course, a tomboy...I played in the mud-puddles, 'fished' from ditches, climbed trees, threw and bat a baseball as well as any of them...although the eldest, I'm sure, would beg to differ on that point! I grew up feisty… [more]

Holiday Joy

January 14th, 2014

I can't believe it was already our 3rd Christmas with the Littles, who are really not so little any more. This year, everyone was old enough to remember what Christmas is all about, which is both good and bad news. They truly had a lot of fun. On Christmas Eve after dinner, each child in our family gets to open one present. That gift always contains pajamas.  This was instituted the year I realized that my kids always looked neglected in the holiday photos because I had not given a thought to their Christmas pajamas. So everyone gets pajamas and the photos look great. (Except this year I could not find the camera on Christmas morning. Oh well, best laid plans!) Last year they were so excited about that Christmas Eve… [more]

Feeling Abandoned

January 13th, 2014

bench I often wonder if my kids do or will eventually feel abandoned.  Many books and professionals have lead us to believe that some children who are adopted will feel a sense of abandonment through their life.  Some question, "Why did my birth mother not want me? or "What was wrong with me?"  As my son gets older, I wonder if some of his insecurities have to do with him being adopted.  When he was a baby he did not like being left alone at any time.  He did not even like it when we were not in the same room.  I know children can have these behaviors even if they are not adopted, but does being adopted intensify these feelings?  My son is… [more]

How to Handle the Naysayers

January 11th, 2014

GRACELadies and gentlemen, if you plan a search, or have yet to reunite physically with birth family, do this: Wear your armor of faith and wear wisdom like a cloak. Don’t go in without these. This sort of reunion is nerve-wracking even when everyone treats you kindly. It has the potential to pierce your heart if any are hostile towards you. I can honestly say that even though I was forewarned of those who were against this reunion, I wasn’t hurt by them.  And unless they read this, which they most likely won’t, those who were against my being there never knew that I knew about their attitudes. You don’t have to let everyone know everything you know…certainly not right… [more]

Expanding Horizons~Part 2

January 11th, 2014

0315021444Later, we gathered for a while in my birth mother, Vi’s, home. It was a lovely old home she was renovating, with a front porch on both stories, built on land that rolled slightly. Definitely the kind of home I would have chosen. There, I met my half-brother, Bo, whom I loved on sight, my mother’s closest friend, Mary, and dear, dear, Uncle Giles, who is sweet to me to this day. I’m not sure if I met more that day or the following day…I do remember being dizzy with joy throughout the week-end at the unexpected love reception I was encountering…and so mentally, emotionally and physically tired I could hardly stand it. Other than my discomfort at being an ‘oddity’ to my… [more]

The Hard Truth and the Good News

January 9th, 2014

Quite frequently when someone learns that we formed part of our family through Foster-to-Adopt, they will shake their heads and say, "I couldn't do it. Are they okay?" Let me translate that phrase for you. It means, "I won't do it and you shouldn't have either."  Usually this is someone who has watched a lot of television shows about troubled kids (who seem too often to be adopted) or they have a friend or relative with a challenging child. The hard truth of foster care is that kids who lose their original families -- for any reason, even "good" ones -- have emotional scars. How big those scars are is due in part to their experience but also has a lot to do with their own personal psychological makeup. You can't… [more]

Expanding Horizons – Meeting Family

January 8th, 2014

Cindy and MomIn “Aunt Bea, She Ain’t,” I quickly came to the realization that my birthmother was not exactly the kind of woman I had envisioned most of my life. I also learned that this didn’t matter a single iota. I was to learn over ensuing days and years that although quiet at first glance, she was a private, strong, somewhat sassy, warm and gracious person. She had made a few mistakes, just like the rest of us, but in her case, some of those mistakes were hung out on the line for all to see. And in small towns, we all know how long it takes for those clothes to dry. Undaunted, she went to school, became a beautician, started… [more]

Aunt Bea She Ain’t!

January 7th, 2014

Cindy and Rachel meetThe only pictures she sent were about twenty years old; my first clue that she was just as afraid of my opinion of her as I was of her opinion of me. I had a long-time fantasy she would look and act like Aunt Bea. So far, nothing she had revealed had destroyed the fantasy…except maybe the part about her owning and operating her own beauty/tanning salon. That might change things a little. …Or a lot. The period of time between, (see "Hide or Seek"), our initial phone contact and this monumental Day of Meeting had prepared us, somewhat, for our first physical encounter. (I mean, really, how prepared can one be for such an event as this?) We… [more]

Hide or Seek

January 6th, 2014

peekaboo bunnyOf course, we didn’t talk about retrievers. In fact, that first conversation with my birth mom may have been the only time they were mentioned. The initial shock of having found her, and so quickly, had me temporarily addle-brained, but with subsequent days and conversations, we became phone and e-mail friends. She went out of her comfort zone to learn how to use her computer so she could write me, but preferred phone conversations. It was only about a week before she began asking when we were going to be able to meet. Until her open door invitation, I thought I was ready. I wasn’t. Not only did I have a full time teaching job, it was my busiest ‘season’… [more]

Tears and Retrievers

January 5th, 2014

HAPPY TEARSMarty did tell the truth. He did call his sister. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall to hear him begin that conversation! Was he abrupt and to the point; soft and shy? As he’d told us, when his little sister became pregnant, he’d been underway with the Navy and had remained so until sometime after she’d given birth. Her pregnancy was never discussed. Perhaps if ignored, that whole episode would just go away. How sad for her, how very, very sad. But for him at this moment, how awkward…and yet to be the bearer of what he hoped would be glad tidings… Waiting in limbo, I did a lot of self-talking about how I would react if she… [more]