Monday, July 29, 2013

Music Monday: Just Breathe by Pearl Jam

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Quote of the Week: Be Not the Slave of Your Own Past

"Be not the slave of your own past-
plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience, that shall explain and overlook the old."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What About Anger?

Hello ladies! When asked, some of you responded that you would like to see some discussion around the issue of anger. While I don't think I have any kind of magic potion to dissipate anger, I want to talk about what you all want to talk about. So here we go.

First the dry facts.

Anger comes from three primary sources: frustration, hurt, fear. Anger is not actually a primary emotion, it is something that happens over time when we fail to deal with what's really going on inside of us.

So, for example, you're frustrated with the adoptive parents, but take no action to change things. Or maybe you do take action to change things, but nothing changes. If you allow it, that frustration can turn into anger, which is a whole different animal.

Or take hurt for example. You were wronged by your boyfriend but have never dealt with the raw feelings that created. Instead you build a wall and get angry instead of dealing with your real issues of feeling unworthy or unloved.

And fear. This is a good one. Because I think we're all afraid of things that we may not recognize we're afraid of. We're afraid of losing what little relationship we have with the adoptive parents or our own birthchild or whomever.

So that's a quick review of what anger is. But what do we do with it?

I personally don't think we can live healthy fulfilling lives while we are carrying around a load of anger. In my own life I have seen the physical and emotional drain of constantly nursing those feelings, rehearsing the wrong-doers' actions over and over in my mind. Keeping those feelings of hurt or fear or anger or some combination of all three alive. It is exhausting. I know. I carried anger around in my heart for years.

Whatever frustration or hurt or fear you are carrying must be dealt with honestly and openly. Now I'm not necessarily suggesting you get alone in a room with someone who hurt you. That might work for some people, but could be a total disaster for others. Instead, think more along the lines of expressing yourself in a safe place.

  • Write a letter you never intend to send.
  • Talk it out with a trusted friend or counselor or no one. There are often times I speak out loud to my empty house just so I can get out of my own head and back to reality.
  • Cry, scream, bang things, throw things, have an all-out tantrum if it helps. But safety first; make sure you are in a safe place and there is no one else around who could be hurt with flying saucers.
  • Join a support group. Those people understand like no others some of the particulars of your hurts/fears/frustrations. Online and in person there are many choices these days. I have been pleasantly surprised this year to meet so many women both on line and in person with whom I can identify.
One of the dangers of anger is burying it so deeply that you become passive to it and don't even realize it's there. You have carried it around for so long that it is just part of who you are. That kind of anger is harder to see.

Ok. Your turn now. Start working on your anger by doing one of these things this week. If you are reading this and think that it doesn't apply to you, look again. Take a closer look. Maybe you have buried your anger in order to move on with your life. But something alive and kicking like anger doesn't stay buried forever.

Maybe you are genuinely healthy and have something to add to this list. Be sure to leave a comment so we can all glean from your experience.

Photo credit

Monday, July 22, 2013

Music Monday: Beautiful Child by Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac)

"Sleepless child
There is so little time
Your eyes say yes
But you don't say yes
I wish that you were mine"

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Quote of the Week: Emotions

"When you welcome your emotions as teachers, every emotion brings good news, even the ones that are painful."

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Despicable Me 2

I know that animated movies aren't real. I mean, obviously the people aren't reals and the characters are just drawings voiced by someone else. We took our kids to see Despicable Me 2 last week and I really just have to write about it.

In the first movie, we meet Gru who is grumpy and irritable and an overall mean guy not to mention a villain. He adopts three sisters in order to gain access to another villain's home and stolen goods.

But then the good part happens. He falls in love with the girls. They steal his heart away and before he knows it he is no longer stealing things or focusing on his work for that matter. He takes them to an amusement park and even gets his face painted.

However, his old self still struggles for control and alas, he loses sight of what's really important and lets go of the girls in order to focus on his work.

In the new film, we see a totally changed man. Not only is he a devoted family man, but he has given up his life of crime for good. He has retrofitted his lab and retooled his minions to do good work. He has his priorities totally in order so much so that when a lucrative offer to go back to his previous life appears, he quickly flees the scene.

This film is the story of redemption. It shows us that we're never too old, too far gone or too mean to change. Sometimes we have to come to the end of ourselves in order to see ourselves clearly. For Gru, it happened after adopting three sisters.

Tell me, what's it going to take for you to come to the end of yourself? to realize you need a change? to take that first step in a new direction?

Photo credit

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Do You Have Children?"

Photo: © 2010 Jupiterimages Corporation

Recently a question between birth mothers came up:

What's your "go to" answer for questions like "Do you have children" and "How many children do you have"?
Before I married, this question was very difficult for me. I would have loved to be the person who could confidently acknowledge my pregnancy with R and explain about the adoption. Sadly, I wasn't that person. Occasionally, depending on the level of trust I had with the person asking, I might tell the story, but more often than not, I would reply that I simply didn't have children.
I feared that I would make the other person uncomfortable. Sometimes I wondered if they would question why I would tell them that, maybe thinking I expected some sort of response or attention from them. 
As the years went by I, in one sense, became more open - open on Facebook, getting involved in various adoption communities, telling close but new acquaintances - yet at the same time, I became more hesitant. My husband preaches, we have one son together and a daughter on the way (any day now!). People assume that's the whole story; they have no reason to believe anything else about me. 
Is that easy for me? Definitely not. The first year we came to this church, away from our family and friends, was the first year I went without an update for R's birthday. Not having the understanding of those near us was very difficult and I would have benefited from opening up to our new friends.  
So, we're still navigating the waters I suppose. My husband thankfully fully supports openness about R, and now that the adoption has become more open, who knows how our lives will play out. We intend on our own children knowing they have a half-brother and we still plan to stay active in the adoption community, so I have reason to believe I may work up to being more candid when asked "How many children do you have?"
On the other end, a friend of mine shared her own experiences. You may relate more to her feelings on the matter:
"I usually share it casually with anyone who asks. I'm comfortable talking about it and it just doesn't feel right when I say "no." It is a huge part of me and my life and it feels like a lie when I don't acknowledge it. It makes some people uncomfortable when they find out sometimes, probably bc they just don't know what to say, but others show genuine interest and it always gives me an opportunity to share a little bit and shed some positive light on something that most people just don't understand and I really want more people to more comfortable talking about it. Of course it is really personal and some days are harder than others, so sometimes I give a simple no. & I have had plenty of people say the "wrong" thing and have felt judged more than I would if I didn't share, but it feels good to be open about it."

So, what's your answer?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Music Monday: Hold on to Hope Love by Amy Stroup

Hold onto hope, love
I've searched high and low for you
For you
Each day gets closer
So hold on stronger to me
And you

Someday soon,
I'll find you
Someday soon,
I'll know you

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Quote of the Week: Life

"Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: "I'm with you kid. Let's go."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Are you Worn?

Hello friends. I hope you enjoyed your holiday week. We took off for the lake and enjoyed it immensely. There's something about getting out of town - even just 100 miles or so - that is so relaxing. It's a time to gain perspective. Sometimes the drama of daily life gets so consuming. Sometimes the drama of everyday life leads one to think that's all there is.

But a retreat to a quiet place is restful. And peaceful.

Since I am one of those God people, I often read books about being a God person. Currently I'm reading Jesus Calling. This morning the author told me to relax in God's presence and be real with him because "when you are with someone you trust completely, you should feel free to be yourself."

I love that! I love the freedom afforded by a close relationship. I love being in a position to not have to 'take on' a certain persona. Who is that with for you? For me it's being home with my family, or getting away together or spending time sitting quietly with the LORD.

I hate the feeling that I have to do or be a certain way to fit in with those around me. It makes me tired. Worn out actually.

Tenth Avenue North has a new song, Worn, about being tired and finding rest. Think about where it is that you find rest. What is the setting? Who is present?

Take time this summer to rest and be quiet. Find a place to just sit. Turn off all your electronic devices. Get comfortable. And listen to the quiet. It may take awhile to become accustomed to it. Ask God to speak to you. When he does, it will be in a very quiet voice deep in your soul. What is he saying? What is he telling you?

The past few months I have tried to find time to do this. Sometimes it's only once a week. But I love it and want more of it. Maybe someday when life slows down.

Photo credit

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Third Quarter Newsletter

The Third Quarter Newsletter is now available. 

Check it out here

Monday, July 8, 2013

Music Monday: I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons

"And I'll kneel down
Wait for now
And I'll kneel down
Know my ground
And I will wait, I will wait for you"

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Quote of the Week: What Lies Within

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Warning: Adoptees Ahead!

My birthmom friends are such an inspiration to me that since connecting with some of you in Charlotte in May, I realized how much I want that connection in my real life, in my own town. Although this is my first attempt at that connection, rest assured it won't be my last!

A few weeks ago, I found a local group through the American Adoption Congress and exchanged emails with the group coordinator for an "Adoption Support Group". I was excited at how fast she responded to my request to visit her group and how warm she came across.

That should have been my first clue something was wrong.

My first meeting was on a cool 90 degree evening at a bank building. Yep, you read that right. When I arrived there were already two ladies chatting in the parking lot, one older (much older) and one younger (much younger). They were friendly and immediately introduced themselves and included me in the conversation.

As we stood talking, an older gentleman also joined us, apparently one of the regulars.

After driving down the street to McDonald's and air conditioning, we started the actual meeting. Since meetings like this are usually confidential in nature, it felt odd to be in the middle of a public place, but I went with it.

The leader opened the group by saying, "If one more person tells me how fortunate I was to be taken into a loving adopted home, I think I'm going to throw up." She's 70. And an adoptee.

The man pipes up and says, "Yeah. Like it was luck that made my birthmom throw me away with no chance of ever finding her or connecting with her." He's 60. And an adoptee.

That was the beginning of 2 very long hours of listening to the three adoptees talk about their horrible lives of multiple marriages, drug use, and feelings of worthlessness. While very eye-opening for this birthmom, and yes, they did know about my birthmom status before the meeting started, it was hard. And sad. And it made me wonder about them and their lives. They all acted like if they could just meet their birthmom, everything would be ok. Like meeting her would change the years of poor decision making.

But in their decades of life, they have had choices. Decisions. Options. And they chose those things that were harmful and destructive. Would connecting with their birthmoms really change all of that?

Obviously I'm still processing this meeting. I would love your feedback, perspective, thoughts.

Photo credit

Monday, July 1, 2013

Music Monday: See You Again by Carrie Underwood

"I’ll See you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
Till I see you again"