Family Roots

Having placed a child for adoption, changed my life and changed me. It formed the way I think about things during a very formative part of my life. Maybe changed isn’t even the right word; maybe germinated things inside me is a better way to say it. I think, as a young person, it was not something I thought about a lot. Family was family.

It has given me new insight as I watch my daughter figure out who she is and explore her roots. The stories that I have heard my whole life about my ancestors, were not taken for granted by her. She, in fact, has a whole group of ancestors not even related to her by blood but rather by the heart. Because she has ancestral stories from the family who raised her as well. This does not makes these stories any less powerful or any less important on her journey.

I was recently having a discussion with a relative, where I stated people who are adopted need to find their roots. She shared with me that she was adopted. I had never known this about her. She told me she had completely bonded with her adopted family and felt no need to look for her birth family. I am so grateful that she shared this with me. It has taught me that the need to know blood ancestral stories is completely individualized. She does not have that yearning, that so many other people I have spoken to seem to have.

Since I grew up with my birth family, I cannot even begin to guess how I would feel. My grandmother used to talk about the importance of blood and family. I do know though, that family is much more than blood. There are soul families, who are not blood in this lifetime but may have been in past lifetimes. There are friends who feel like family. There are non-blood relatives like aunts, stepchildren and adopted parents that are every bit a part of who we are, without the blood connection. The face of what family looks like today is constantly changing and evolving. Who shows up to holiday meals can be a wonderful, changing, eclectic group of people that we call our family.

Family roots ground us. They hold us deeply to the earth. They can be like a blanket telling us who we are. However family roots, whether blood or not, do not define us. Allow yourself to be more than your story. Your story formed you but it is not you. Your story contributes to your view of the world through the experiences you have had, but allow that view to be ever changing.

I am blessed in my family heritage stories. They are full of examples of strength, comedy, and lots of love. They are not without their share of times of struggle, but it is that pressure that makes us into diamonds. As the parent of a child placed for adoption, I have spoken to many other birth parents over the years and it has been my experience that placing a child for adoption is a gift of love. Myself and other birth parents think about that little soul out there in the world. We send them love, wish them every happiness, and wonder how they are doing often.

However you define your family or who you chose to claim as your people, remember that those stories are a part of who you are, but you are much more than your family roots. Just as the roots of the tree hold it to the earth, nourish it, and allow it to grow; so do our roots. However, a tree is so much more than it’s roots and is shaped by so many things that have nothing to do with the dirt in which it’s planted.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your roots give you comfort, as if by magic.

*photo was taken in Bellingham, WA

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My Daughter’s Mother… Dotties Story (An Adoption Story continued)

My daughter’s mother passed away this weekend. She stepped out of her cancer riddled body and moved beyond the veil. She moved from the life of pain, she was living, into the peace of the world beyond this one. Her life seemed so short; she was much too young, but none of us get to decide the hour or time of our passing. Does it seem weird to you that I say my daughter’s mother? I suppose it might. If you read my earlier blog, A Story of Adoption… My Story, it is easier to understand why I say this.

Let me tell you a little about my daughter’s mother. She had a smile that was infectious.  It was so infectious it made you wanted to smile and laugh right along with her when she did. She was fun too! Never taking life too seriously. When I was young, long before any of my daughters where around, her husband (at that time) raced cars and I was part of the pit crew. One time, the car got banged up that it needed some metal repaired on the fender.  Dottie and I riveted a new piece of metal to car. Then we painted it to look like a bandaid, all the while laughing and joking about our little addition.

There were countless summer bonfires out at her house. It was a time in my life when I was carefree and my responsibilities were few. My biggest “to do” was to make it home in time for my curfew. She was “that” adult who listened to me and took me serious, when so many others dismissed me or told me how I was feeling, was wrong. She helped me see myself as important.

Today, I sometime speak to high school children about adoption as an option for unplanned pregnancies. As part of these talks my daughter provided a recording of what the experience was like for her. Her mother, Dottie, wrote a letter. I would like to share some of her words with you.

When she described the time, right after this beautiful little soul was born, she said; “They called me in and the mother was holding the baby. I was just dying to see what she looked like and she (the Mother) put her arms out to me with the baby; to give her to me. The baby was crying and crying and I said isn’t that beautiful? The sounds of a baby crying. They (the Mother) shake their head no. I’m holding the baby and the baby stops crying and I started crying. I did ask the Mom if this is what she really wanted to do, and she said yes. This baby girl was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid my eyes on. She had so much hair and beautiful coloring and every finger and toe was there; she was just perfect to me. This Mom had produced the most beautiful angel I had ever seen; there was so much love between this baby and I. I could feel it.”

Dottie always let me and my family be part of her angle’s life. Her reasoning was simple, beautiful, and loving. “I cannot describe the love that I have for the Mom and Dad that gave up their rights to give me that child.  That Mom gave me the greatest gift you could give to anyone that cannot have a child. She (Mom) did not give this beautiful child because she did not love her; she gave her to me because she did love her and wanted her to have a good life with a loving Mother and Dad. Time went on, (the baby’s) Mom would come out and see the baby; I never stop her from doing that. That was okay with me because that baby was a part of her life too. I never stopped the baby from having any contact the Mom’s side of the family. Great Grandma and Great Grandpa just adored her. At the time, I was thinking that one day the baby would know she was adopted. So this would make it easier for her, because she would already know that side of the family”.

There was so much love in Dottie. She was so unselfish in allowing my family and I access to know and love this child. She sent pictures often. Dottie and I would have long conversations where she kept me up to date as to what was going on with this daughter, we shared, as she grew. As she grew into adulthood, these conversations decreased and then finally stopped. I will miss those conversations. Dottie always welcomed me, my visits, and my involvement. I see Leeah as daughter to both of us but I see Dottie as her mother. She is the person who did the work of being a mother. Staying up when Leeah was sick, going to her games, concerts, award ceremonies, disciplining her, and celebrating with this girl as she grew. I was only watching from the wings, happy that there could be so much love for her.

No mother/daughter relationship is perfect and Dottie and Leeah have had their differences through the years. It is those we love the most, who can make us the most angry. Fortunately,  love can heal all wounds in time. Dottie always shared love with me. As I kissed her cheek that last time and said farewell; I felt that her stepping out of this world would leave a hole, an emptiness, a void. May you be surrounded by peace and filled with love in the place behind the veil, Dottie. Thank you for raising the daughter I was not able too. I love you. I miss you.

I would like to conclude this blog with Dottie’s own words about having adopted the daughter we shared, “I have had nothing but joy, love, and happiness. What I have seen since she’s been growing up; she is so much like her mother and looks like her mother and has the same beautiful qualities as her mother: compassionate, giving, logical, and sympathetic to people’s needs. …So thank you too Leeah’s Mom for this gift from God to me.  I know you loved her then, you loved her as she was grown up, and love her now. That makes us all good Moms.”

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find peace in all of your relationships and your decisions, as if by magic.

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A Story of Adoption… My Story

When I was young I got pregnant. This was during the time in my life that I lovingly refer to as my ‘evil rebellious years’. I would fight with my mother for  just the sake of fighting and, of course, thought I knew everything about life. I was no longer living in my parents home for precisely these reasons. When I first realized I was pregnant, I was very happy and excited. I went shopping with a friend and bought a teddy bear that was wearing shorts with neon green smiley faces for this little spirit that was growing inside of me. I also ran into an ex-boyfriend’s Aunt shared with her my excitement. She one of the very first people who knew I was pregnant.

It didn’t take long, however, for me to come to the realization that my life was not conducive to raising a child and providing her with a life, I felt, she deserved. I had no job at the time. I was living on a friend’s couch. The future did not look bright. I had to make a very hard decision and I decided to place my baby for adoption. 

That same ex-boyfriend’s Aunt and Uncle had not been able to have children together. I called her and asked if she would raise my baby. I really think I shocked her. It is not the kind of call you expect to get. My mother was worried about having someone I knew adopt my baby and asked me to talk to an adoption agency. I did as she asked but it was not a good experience. They actually made threats that if I gave my child to someone of my choosing they would have me charged with child abandonment. What a terrible thing to threaten a 18 year old girl with. I was just trying to do the right thing for this little life that had been created by my actions. 

Lawyers got involved and the Aunt and Uncle started the long process of home studies to prove they would provide a safe and loving home for this little soul. I can not speak to everything they went though, in order to adopt this baby, as I was quite a bit removed from the process but it was a lot.  

From the time I was 3 months pregnant, I thought of this child growing inside me as their child. I am not sure I could have gone through with letting her go if I had not. When she was born, her mother was at the hospital. They were kind to me at the hospital, putting me in a private room just outside of the maternity ward. During my stay, her mother would come and spend time in my room with her. I remember one morning a well meaning nurse brought the little one into my room for me to give her a bottle. My only guess as to why she did this was because she thought I might want to keep her if I fed her. What this nurse could not have possibly known is that I did want to keep her. I would have loved to have taken her home with me, but I knew I could not offer her the life she deserved. 

When I was released from the hospital, her mother drove me home, dropped me off and left with her. It was the first time in 9 months I had been without her. It felt so strange. I will be forever grateful to her mother for doing what I could not do. She loves her, made sacrifices for her, and raised her to be a remarkable woman. I am so proud of the amazing person she has grown to be. 

Her mother kept me informed about her life, invited me to events, and allowed her to spend time with my grandparents. I was so amazed in her love and unselfishness. I love her for this. 

When I share this story with others they open up with their own stories of placing children for adoption, being adopted, or other adoption stories within their own family. Adoption touches far more people than we realize. I am not embarrassed by my choice to place my baby with a different Mom and Dad. They gave her a better life. It was a decision I made out of love. Just as their choice to welcome this little soul into their life was also made out of love. 

And the story continues -> My Daughter’s Mother… Dotties Story (An Adoption Story continued)

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your past choices made from love give you peace, as if by magic. 

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I Wanna Help!

I am involved in a lot of stuff. I mean really, a lot of stuff! I work hard and I play just as hard. At work, home, and with various things I am involved in, I find myself volunteering or being ask to volunteer to take on more and more. I find it difficult to say, “no”. I wanna help and I want to make my corner of the world a better place.

That is why Emy and I wrote the 3 books. Yes, we have both felt the call to write since we were young girls. I have always know that somehow, in someway, I would eventually be an author. But, Lessons Through Joy, Lessons Through Forgiveness, and Lessons Through Magic were written with a genuine desire to help others. It is a part of the calling to make the world a better place. That same desire, swirling inside my soul, is what drives me to write this blog. It is what pushes me to get something posted 3-5 times a week. I want to help people. I want to make the world a better place.

That same desire is why I go speak to high school students and share my story of placing a child for adoption. I want to share with them an option. When I was young and not prepared to support and raise this child, that was growing inside of me, I had to make/find my own options. By sharing my story, hopefully I can help some other teen see there are other ways to give your child a good life.

My desire to help is why I am the administrator for my local Buy Nothing group. Have you heard of Buy Nothing? It is a movement to keep items out of the landfills and build community by neighbor giving to neighbor. When I first heard of this, I thought the concept was brilliant. Sadly, my neighborhood didn’t have a group. This bothered me; it was simply not acceptable. So I contacted Buy Nothing and offered to be the administrator for my area. It is one more way I can help make my little corner of the world a better place.

I do it at work too. When I see something that needs to be worked on, I often volunteer for the project. I want the company I work for to be a better place also. I want to help things be smooth and easy for others who work there. It is one more way I try and make the world a better place.

I joined Toastmasters last fall to try and make myself a better speaker but I found it was a place I could share important messages also. I try to write speeches for my little group that can help them or that they can share with others. Important messages about loving yourself as is and how forgiveness can improve your life.

I couldn’t take care of the world around me without taking care of my friends and family. So I try to be available as a shoulder to cry on, ear to listen, helping hand when needed. My husband and I worked hard to renovate our own home and now a home for our daughters. We are also using this work to providing encouragement and lessons on being the best version of himself to our teenage son. We want to make the world a better place by helping him grow into the kind of man who will stop and pick up litter on the street, help an elderly neighbor shovel snow or haul in groceries, smile at strangers, and give without selfishness. We spend hours with our grandchildren, helping them to also grow into caring people and build lasting memories for both them and us of play, creativity, and love.

With all of these efforts (and more not mentioned here) to help the world around me, it is easy to get bogged down and feel pressured and feel like I do not have enough time for me. Somehow, I manage. I do feel badly when I have to turn down a request or a project either at work or through some other avenue, but if I do not take a minute here or there for myself, I will be tapped out and not able to continue to give the best of myself. Half an effort is not good enough for me. If I am going to take something on, I need to know I can always give it the best of myself.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you have healthy happy boundaries.

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