The Moments that Take Your Breath Away

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When I look back over the past 31 years of my life, the moments that stand out most sharply in my mind all tend to all have one thing in common-they all have that rare ability to make my stomach tumble and steal my very breath.

There are many moments I recall….like jumping into the ocean for my first dive at 12 years old or walking down the aisle to the handsome guy that would soon become my husband.  Spectacular sunsets, walks on the beach and misty, muddy hikes through the woods.  Also those moments when the early morning sun filters through the trees in such a majestic way that it nearly brings tears to your eyes.

Then there are those moments that not only take your breath away but usher in a new chapter of your life–like becoming a mom for the first time as I stood and held Little Man in an orphanage in Vietnam….

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And that moment in Hong Kong when Big Brother first looked at me–I mean really looked at me–and smiled….

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And then the surreal moment when I saw a little, tiny heartbeat appear on a monitor as I laid in the doctor’s office, wondering what I did to deserve so many blessings….

babybThese fleeting moments that are forever engraved in my mind seem so simple but yet so profound. I love awaking each day with anticipation that I’ll have a chance for just one more…

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My Babies, My Life

I’ll admit it.  My blog has been quite boring lately.  I’ve been trying to squeeze out posts that are important to me, but then everything else gets left sitting around in my head, destined to be forgotten in the shuffle of life.  And reading other blogs?  Oh I’m so very, very behind.  I love reading and commenting on other blogs but I’m afraid all of that has taken a back seat to the happenings in my “real life.”

So what exactly have I been doing lately?  Well, I  have begun leading an advocacy group in my community that will work to create social change through interactions with members of congress and the media.  It’s a lot of work, but something I am deeply passionate about.  I’ll have some more exciting details to share about that soon.

But we’re also knee-deep in trauma/adoption/autism issues with Big Brother.  We are finally, however, finding the light at the end of the tunnel and are finally in a good place.  For the last couple of months, things were pretty rough.  Flashbacks, regression and constant violent outbursts dominated our days and nights. I’m not in a place right now to even begin to put my thoughts into words about all that has transpired, but I will at some point in time.

It’s just part of the job.  In fact, here’s a great post by another adoptive mother that sums up my thoughts exactly and might give you some insight into why we keep marching happily along in times of great darkness.

So what exactly am I rambling about today?  Well, I guess I just wanted to a chance to show off my babies.  After all, they are the reason I awake each morning with a smile on my face and the reason I advocate for those around the globe who have no voice.  They put the passion in my heart.  So excuse me while I do the mom thing and drown my blog with their cuteness 🙂

Global Team of 200: Social Media for Social Good

 

“Global Team of 200 is a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.”

I am so proud to announce that I am now a member of this amazing team!  I can’t wait to start using my voice even more to raise awareness regarding some of the most pressing social issues.  You can read my profile and motivations here.  Stay tuned, we have a lot to discuss….

Hope, Fear and a Mother’s Love

“The central struggle of parenthood is to let our hopes for our children outweigh our fears.” – Ellen Goodman

Yesterday I sent both my boys off to Kindergarten.

Like all mothers, I have hopes and dreams for my children.  And like most mothers, I often find myself drowning in fear and worry about every aspect of their lives.  Sometimes it is easy to push these worries aside and focus on the now.  But yesterday, the fear and worry about my son with special needs was nearly too much to bear.  And as my motherly instinct had forewarned, my worst fears did turn into reality.  Days like yesterday tip the balance of my motherly hopes and fears and I find myself grasping for anything to hold onto, anything to help me regain my footing.

My Little Man was so excited to start Kindergarten and I’m happy to report that he did great.  He was all smiles and couldn’t wait to tell me all about his day. His joy and enthusiasm made my heart soar.

All I wanted for Big Brother was for him to make it through one entire day in his new Life Skills class, but it was not to be.  He made it for a few hours before I received a frantic phone call.  I rushed to pick up Big Brother, my heart nearly leaping out of my chest on the short drive to the school.  The anxiety, the over-stimulation, all the questions, the new people, the new schedule….it was all too much for him. He had an epic and violent meltdown that left us all in quite an emotional place.

All the therapy, all the love, all the medication and we still find ourselves back at square one.  It’s hard when you feel so helpless–when you see your child suffering and cannot do anything to stop it.

I know Big Brother did the best he could.  I know he was scared and did not understand why I was not with him at school.  I know he felt pressure to answer questions he did not know the answers to. I know we prepared him the best we could with visits and meetings. But I can’t help but feel that I failed him somehow….that I am asking too much of him.  I feel that I should advocate harder for him, to make the world see past his trauma.

There are just some days that leave you breathless, grasping for anything you can to find your footing.  There are days when your heart aches more than words can say.

But we will try again and I will work to find the balance between hope and fear.

Until then, we’ll take Little Man’s advice and “just keep swimming, just keep swimming….”

 

 

 

 

 

Mom Enough

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By now most people are fully aware of the current mommy war being waged thanks to the recent TIME Magazine cover story: Are You Mom Enough?

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I actually agree with attachment style parenting, but really, this is not a war I am fighting. In fact, this is the only mommy war I’ll wage: Where’s the Mommy War for the Motherless Child? (please go read this excellent post, it is worth your time)

See, many of the parenting choices other moms talk about were already made for me by the time I met my children. I don’t even know what Big Brother looked like before he was 2.5 years old. If you want to know how I really feel about motherhood and my journey, then you should read my “dear me” post or my Mother’s Day post from last year.

I don’t much care for playing the I’m a better mom than you game. Because you know what? I am just thrilled to be called mom.

On Mother’s Day 2008, I celebrated my first Mother’s Day, but it looked much different than anything you have probably seen. You see, on this Mother’s Day my child was 9,000 miles away living in an orphanage in Vietnam. I had only met him through pictures. We had just found out that there were problems processing his visa and that our adoption was now in limbo.

Because my child was only in my heart and not in my arms, not a single person wished me Happy Mother’s day. No one acknowledged that I was indeed a mom whose path to motherhood was a unique and winding one. It’s not because I am surrounded by mean people, it’s because most of the time people just don’t know what to say or how to respond. I get it.

Then I turned on the news and saw that a popular Mother’s Day contest had put adoptive moms in the non-mom category. Everywhere I turned, I was feeling like a big old non-mom.

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This is what I wrote a year ago about my experience of motherhood, with two adoptions under my belt and one of those being an older child, special needs adoption:

When you adopt a child, you promise to love them through the good times and the bad times. You love them even when you know they don’t yet love you in return. You kiss the boo boo’s on the outside while trying to mend the deep, profound wounds on the inside. You put on a loving face as they pull away from you, you quiet your voice as they rage against your touch, and you hold them tight as they kick and scream trying to get away. You do everything a loving mother would do while trying to mask your own pain. You smile and coo, while on the inside your heart is breaking. Day after day, you mother them in the hopes that someday they will reach up to you and ask for your touch. You know that healing is measured in years, not days. You march forward because you know it’s the only way you can get to where you want to be. You never give up hope that attachment will come. It’s a tough job that many people can’t fathom. It’ s so, so hard, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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Over the years it has become apparent that some view me as lesser of a mom because I did not have the biological experience that they had. So I have beat myself up about it time and time again.

Here is what I think about being mom enough.

I am mom enough to hold a screaming child who does not love me, and in return show him that I have all the love in the world to give.

I am mom enough to accept the fact that some horrible things happened to my children before I met them and there is not a darn thing I can do about it.

I am mom enough to be more than a cook, chauffeur and teacher. I am mom enough to be a healer.

I am mom enough to understand motherhood looks different for me and that it’s ok.

You are mom enough. I am mom enough. To the one reading this who is loving your child from afar, whether that means in an orphanage or a place not of this world, you are mom enough. To the mom across the world who is doing everything in her power to feed and protect the child in a place where poverty is the way of life, you are mom enough. To the one who had to make the impossible, heartbreaking decision to place your child for adoption, you are mom enough.

Let’s use our energy to fight for something more important. Let’s wage a mommy war for the motherless child or for the moms here and all around the globe that need support to be the best moms they can be. This Mother’s Day, instead of worrying about how you measure up, why not go and lend a loving hand to a mom in crisis or to a child in need? Let’s show the world that we are mom enough to put aside our own first world problems in order to help those who really need it.

“Somewhere, children dance to the joyous music of life, and elsewhere they only cling to existence….they are all our children.” -Unknown