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When Adoptions Go Wrong May 14, 2014

Filed under: Adoption,Foster care,Motherhood — brownbabiespinkparents @ 2:36 pm
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7 weeks ago, we welcomed Madison’s birth brother into our home.  I was on Cloud 9.  Head over Heels in Love.  Officially, he was an adoption placement, but we knew in our hearts that he would be part of our family forever.  One week later, the honeymoon ended.

Brother D had more issues than we realized.  Having lived the past 13 years in the foster system, he was deeply wounded.  My heart broke as I read to him before bed and prayed with him every night for God to keep away the bad dreams.  As the days passed, more issues became apparent.  The days were the longest of my life.  I was stretched to my emotional and physical limits.  And, yet, I love him so much. 

We were told Brother D was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, which was of no concern to me since 2 of my 3 kiddos have the same thing.  I didn’t know D is bi-polar with a number of intellectual concerns.  Highlights of our time together included 3 days of out of school suspension, 2 days of in school suspension, weekly referrals, regular visits and phone calls with the school, constant arguing/shouting matches, being fired by the psychiatrist, more doctor’s appointments than I can count on 2 hands, and nearly losing my job as a result of focusing all of my time on D. 

Madison stopped talking to him within a couple of weeks.  When he walked into a room, she walked out.  I watched my first born stop eating, retreat into her room more often than usual, and completely stop her most bothersome behaviors like not listening and arguing.  Morgan, age 5, fought with D every day.  And McKenzie, my introvert, avoided him.  The stress in our home was palpable. Daily I was questioning our decision.  I felt blind sided by the number of issues we were facing.

The most alarming matter quickly became his belief that nothing was wrong with him.  He challenged every diagnosis, adamantly believed he did not require medication, repeatedly told us he did not need any help or even our help, and expressed his belief that doctors were trying to kill him.  I had one of those out of body experiences in the psychiatrist’s office of being in a Lifetime movie about mental illness.  In that moment, God spoke clearly to me.  I cannot help someone who does not want to be helped.  Period. 

The #1 rule when Brother D came to our home was no violence. We made it completely clear that if he were to hurt one of the girls or one of us, he would have to leave.  The safety of every family member was paramount.  So when he ran into the house Thursday night screaming, “Please forgive me!  I didn’t mean to do it!  It was instinct!” we were terrified.  We raced into the yard to find Madison hysterically crying.  I reached her first and she melted into my arms.  Immediately D begins shouting (in our front yard for the entire cul-du-sac to see and hear) Maddie provoked him and he hit her.  As I held my sobbing child in my arms and felt her tears soaking my shirt, I listened to D loudly explain how this situation was Madison’s fault.  Every one of my maternal alarms rang at once.

While Kim dealt with D, I comforted Maddie who had been punched in the side after an argument during which she smacked his arm.  His punch knocked the breath out of her and left her doubled over.  None of my children have ever experienced physical aggression and all 3 were terrified.  In this moment in my front yard, Kim stuck to the rule and made the phone call to CPS that he had to be removed.  I was amazed by her strength.  I was in awe of her focus.  Everything else faded to gray except our daughters and one of them was hurt.

D raged for about an hour, screaming and crying that Maddie should not have smacked his arm and he wasn’t to blame. I was a wreck.  I am talking snot bubbles and tears that led to swollen eyes and a headache the size of Texas.  I laid on his bedroom floor sobbing alongside D.  The guilt was overwhelming.  I am so sorry his whole life has been such a train wreck.  I am so sorry I can’t make anything better.  I am so sorry that he has to leave when I love him so much.  I left D’s room to check on my girls and found McKenzie barricaded in the corner of her room wrapped in a blanket and surrounded by her stuffed animals.  She was reading to them. The scene in her room caught me off guard and snapped me out of the guilt filled sob fest.  My daughter was in the midst of trauma. We all were. McKenzie was responding to a scary situation in her home the way the school taught her to respond in a lock down drill – all children quietly sitting in the corner of the room.  What had I done to my girls?

Maddie, McKenzie and Morgan spent the next 3 nights on the floor of our bedroom, sleeping on pallets.  They were scared.  Brother D left us Friday morning and is now living in a home for boys nestled on a ranch.  My sobbing returned as I helped him prepare for the social worker to arrive.  He comforted me by saying he is used to moving around and he would be fine.  The social worker arrived and all 3 of us loaded her car with his things.  My heart officially broke into a thousand pieces when I said good-bye to the only boy to ever steal my heart.  I didn’t realize the human body contained that much water and yet my face, neck, and shirt were drenched. 

D brought an enormous energy into our home that was hard to live with. However, the absence of that energy was incredibly heavy.  Mother’s Day weekend was mostly spent in our pajamas as all of us adjusted to life without D.  We cleaned house and cooked the comfort foods of childhood.  We cried.  We watched movies.  We napped.  I feel like someone has died and, yet, I can still talk to him on the phone, he still calls me Mommy, and tells me he loves us.  My heart is so heavy.  I find it difficult to focus on much and recognize I am grieving.  It feels like the world has stopped turning and time has stopped.  I miss what could have been, I miss the dream, I miss the boy. 

All of this has been difficult to talk about and I have struggled to share the news with friends and co-workers.  It just hurts.  I had no intention of sharing it with the world through a blog but my BFF reminded me that words bring healing.  I am not the only mother in the world to have a failed placement.  I am not a failure. So I share this story with you in hopes my pain can bring someone else comfort.  I share this story in hopes my story can remind others how much our kiddos suffer in this imperfect system we call foster “care”.  I share my story because I can’t hold the pain inside any longer.  I have faith God will fill the void in my heart, protect my sweet boy wherever he is, and carry each of us through this roller coaster ride we call parenthood.  Peace. 

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The Comedy of Motherhood April 11, 2014

Filed under: Adoption,Life,Motherhood — brownbabiespinkparents @ 6:55 pm

We have all had those days.  You know, the one when everything possible goes wrong and at some point you just have to laugh so you don’t cry?  Well let me tell you about Thursday.  I may not soon forget it.  And hopefully, I can bring a smile to your face sharing my horror.

CRITICAL UPDATE -Brother D is now living with us.  I am the mother of 4.  Our family is complete.  I am head over heels in love.

The alarm sounds at 6 am, shocking me awake, on a pretty ordinary Thursday.  I rouse the troops and the morning routine is humming along as usual except for the fact that I cannot get Morgan out of bed.  It takes me 45 minutes to get her up, leaving only 15 minutes to dress, eat, brush teeth and get in the car for school.  Did I mention Morgan has ADHD?  Oh yeah.

I am sweating as I shovel instant oatmeal into her mouth while tying shoes.  I am panting as I throw on yoga pants,  t-shirt, and a baseball cap.  No make up.  No hair.  No matching anything.  It is time for school.  4 kids out the door with 1 mother on the verge of a panic attack.  I hate to be late.

I drop the 2 youngest at school and take the 2 oldest to the doctor’s office.  Brother D has a well check to get established with our pediatrician.  I bring Madison along with me to do some lab work since Brother’s presence in our home has alerted us to some family medical issues that need to be ruled out.  In order for both of them to do blood work, both of them have to fast. This also means neither one of them can take their ADHD medication.  The appointment takes about an hour followed by 30 minutes in the lab.  Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb are bouncing off the walls while we wait.  All of us are hungry.  I am nearing my personal edge.  Somebody needs to go in time out, possibly me.

Finally we finish in the lab and go directly to McDonald’s for a quick breakfast before taking the kids to school.  I notice the time and realize I have a 10:30 appointment to do my fingerprints.  You see, we are going through the re-licensing process to foster Brother D.  It has been 5 years since we last fostered and now we get to jump back through the hoops of fire we gladly gave up years ago.  For Brother D, I would do anything.  So off I go to have my fingerprints done.  Again.

I am driving 80 mph down the freeway to make the 10:30 appointment.  It is 10:27 when I drop the last child at school.  I located the building, shriek into a parking place for compact cars only and RUN into the building.  It is 10:48 when I jerk open the door to the office where sits 2 ladies whose 8 hour per day job consists of taking people’s fingerprints. Let’s just say they aren’t very happy employees.

“My name is Amy Ford and I am here to do my fingerprints,” I pant from running up 3 flights of stairs. “You see I used to be a foster parent and we quit but now our daughter’s brother has come into our lives and I need to get relicensed fast.”

“YOU MISSED YOUR APPOINTMENT,” the African American woman barks.  “Take a number and sit down.”

I look around and there is a room full of people waiting to have their fingerprints taken and who now know all of my business.  As I sit there waiting, I can’t help but wonder why they are here.  I had no idea fingerprints were in such high demand.  Finally, my number is called.  I get the black lady.  The one who greeted me at the door.

I hand her my paperwork and she tells me to sit down in the chair beside her desk.  I verify name, address, and social before she says the words that would take this day into a whole new direction.

“Please remove your hat for the photo,” she orders.

“Uh what?  I am here for fingerprints.  Not a photo.” Fear grips me in the belly, crawls upward to my chest and then burns its way to my face.  I look down at my yoga pants and stained t-shirt.  There is dried instant oatmeal on my pants.  Was that just this morning that I wrestled Morgan into her clothes?  No make up.  No hair.  Baseball cap.  I can clearly see the hair on my legs.

“Everyone is photographed when fingerprints are collected for the FBI background check.  Please remove your hat.”

Gulp.

“So if I understand you correctly, I have to remove my hat? Under which I have a tangled mess of unwashed hair?”

Giggling now, she confirms the instruction as her counterpart on the other side of the partition leans over to see how bad it really is.

“Could you please give me the courtesy of doing this very, very fast?  Like set it up just the way you need it and then say go?  I will whip off my hat really fast for the picture.” There is a distinct ringing in my ears.

With an enormous smile, she says, “Of course.”

Let it be clear, I am DYING on the inside as I have now captured the attention of everyone in the waiting room, the other fingerprint taker as well as her patient/client/victim.  What choice do I have?  It has to be done.

On cue, I rip off the baseball cap and instinctively SMILE.  Are you kidding me Amy?  I look BAD and yet I smile.  I am pretty sure this is what it looked like minus the smile.

Nick Nolte

Fortunately, the torture ended 4 minutes after the horror began and I raced out of the office.  It wasn’t until I get into the car, my non compact car, that I grasp the hilarity of the situation.  It is 11:15 and I haven’t showered, shaved, or worked.  And yet, my day is done.  I called my best friend on the way home to share the story.  We get a good laugh.  I walk into the house as I finish the call and remember I haven’t taken my vitamins for the day because I never ate breakfast.  I toss a handful of pills into my mouth with the intention of pouring a glass of water in the next second, but I toss those pills a little too well. 3 of them are now lodged in my throat.

I begin to gag and wretch, thinking I am going to have to save myself over the back of a kitchen chair when finally I throw up in the sink.  I splash water on my face.  I am in full panic AGAIN with tears coming down my cheeks.  I cannot believe this just happened.  I could have died!  I am ready for Thursday to be over and it isn’t even noon!  It is then that I decide to crawl back into bed.  I am done.  Finished.  Stick a fork in me.  Surely, I can find an SVU marathon on to entertain me until the kids come home from school.  Just a couple of hours to myself is all I ask.

Of course, that is what I wanted to do.  Instead, I shower, run a giant list of errands, make 15 or so calls, and pull up to the school just as Brother D walks out. 10 minutes later, my 3 beauties walk through the door.  I get to start the whole process over.   Ain’t motherhood funny?

 

 

Chapter 3 of the Brother Chronicles January 28, 2014

Filed under: Adoption,Fired Up,Life — brownbabiespinkparents @ 3:27 am

Many of us created our families by adopting from the foster system, which is actually how my babies came to me.  Each daughter came to us very young and through meeting Madison’s brother, I am aware of how lucky they were to find us early in life.  I take for granted that every child is not loved and adored the way mine are.  And yet, D, forces me to acknowledge how great the struggle is for older children in the system.

D was removed from his birth mother when he was 2.  Maddie was born a few years later. He spent a year in a relative’s home with his older sister and only constant in his life.  When that family decided to adopt her instead of him, D went to live in another foster home for 8 years.  Yes you read that correctly. 8 years.  Then he was placed with a single white woman who wanted to adopt.  They didn’t get along and he began acting out, which landed him in juvenile hall.  From there he was sent to a Residential Treatment Center for 2 years.  In October, I jumped into the middle of his life.  In November, he moved to a foster home 3 hours away and I was crossing my fingers this family would adopt him, but they have decided not to pursue permanency.

This kid has been through hell.  And D spent last weekend with us before appearing in court for a status update.  I met his foster dad mid-way between Austin and their house.  It took me 2 seconds in the McDonald’s parking lot to recognize something was very wrong with D.  He was drugged.  I am talking HEAVILY medicated.  His foster dad handed me a Zip lock bag with 2 prescription bottles.  I recognized the name of one as being a sleep aid.  The other I didn’t know, but would soon discover it is an anti – psychotic drug for adult schizophrenic.  During the 1.5 hour drive back to Austin, D had trouble carrying his end of the conversation.  I watched him struggle to eat the snack I brought him and to my horror, I watched him drool down his chin onto his shirt.  Two weeks ago, this kid was bantering back and forth with him, dancing, and laughing.

I immediately sounded the alarms when I got home, calling the CASA worker, attorney ad litem, and case worker.  D was able to tell me the psychiatrist changed his medications on Thursday and he doesn’t feel “right”.  The crazy thing is the doctor, nor the child placing agency, nor the foster family notified anyone of this change in medication.  It hit me like a ton of bricks – this is how you keep kids in the foster system quiet/subdued/good.

We took D to court a couple of days later and the Judge was just as upset as we were about the change in medication for a child who has no other clinical diagnosis than ADHD.  I am happy to report his medications have been cut in half, there is a follow-up court hearing this week, the psychiatrist has been reprimanded, and the child placing agency warned to shape up.  I feel good about the direction of this case and I am so thankful God has equipped me to sound alarms.  Maddie and I are going back to visit D this weekend to celebrate his 14th birthday.  I hope to see the real D, who banters, laughs and dances with me.  How I love these kiddos.

025

 

Back to Blogging January 2, 2014

Filed under: Adoption,Blessings I Never Saw Coming,Motherhood — brownbabiespinkparents @ 6:37 pm

Happy New Year!!  Welcome to 2014!!  It has been over a year since I last blogged and I am ashamed of myself.  How could I stop writing?  This is terrible!  So I have made a list of goals for the new year and #1 on the list is to blog more often.  Since it has been over a year, I figure this one post makes me a success in then new year!

Wow has 2013 been a whirlwind!  Not only did I go back to work full time, but our family has grown with the addition of birth siblings!!  No, they don’t live with us, but we do interact regularly and I love it!  All 3 of our adoptions were through CPS, which means they weren’t very open, so to speak.  It makes my heart smile to hear Morgan ask for a play date with her birth sister and to watch these 2 giggle the hours away.  Today, for instance, Morgan is home with me while Madison and McKenzie are at winter camp.  So we invited baby sister, the Littlest M, over to play.  They have discovered the microphone Santa brought and I am on Cloud 9 listening to Jingle Bells, Call Me Maybe, and some other songs I don’t quite recognize but they do and that’s all that matters.

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In October, I received the most shocking e-mail of my life when a CASA volunteer contacted me regarding Madison’s older birth brother, who we had never met but always knew about.  What we didn’t know was he has been in the foster system for 11 years and his team was trying to connect him with family.  Well hell’s bells – you called the right person this time!  I met D a couple of days later when he was in court.  I think it was love at first sight.  We hung out in the court house, getting to know each other.  He stole my heart.

After a few weeks of corresponding, we decided it was safe for Madison to meet him. D is living in a foster home, a great one I might add, about 3 hours away from us.  So a few weeks ago we loaded up the car for Maddie to meet her brother.  It was a major milestone in the life of this family.  Maddie is over the moon happy.  D’s entire life has changed.  And my heart grows fuller with every phone call and visit.  Speaking of visits, we hit the road again tomorrow for all the kids to meet D.  Already, McKenzie and Morgan are calling him brother the same way Madison calls the Littlest M sister.  Adoption is amazing!

Adoption really is the gift that keeps on giving.  We live far away from any family.  My parents are in Georgia.  My brother and his family is in South Carolina.  And Kim’s family is in the Chicago area.  And here we sit deep in the Heart of Texas. I have come to depend on friends and neighbors in emergencies much the way I would family if they were close by.  I realized in May when McKenzie, age 8, was in the Children’s Hospital for a week, that we do in fact have family near by.  The adoptive family of the Littlest M, birth sister to McKenzie and Morgan, were there to help.  When birth mom reached out to me on Facebook, scaring me to death since I live a very open life through Social Media, I called mother of the Littlest M for support.  She talked me off the ledge and brainstormed options with me.  It felt like having a sister – someone who knows where you have been and what it took to get here.  I love the Littlest M’s family!  They are part of us!  Put this in the category of Blessings I Never Saw Coming. I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!

 

Families – Birth, Adoptive, Married, and More November 19, 2012

Filed under: Adoption,Motherhood — brownbabiespinkparents @ 10:36 pm

I was not adopted.  I was born to a mother and father who, despite being young and poor, raised me to be who I am today.  I have always known my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Many of these relationships were long distance, but I have always known who my family is.  I love my family of origin and treasure these  tight connections .  Family is truly a blessing in my life.  I would be lost without my family.

 

Sometimes in families, there is a split.  Some kind of disagreement, or misunderstanding, grows out of control and separation takes place in a family.  We lose touch with cousins and years pass before we stop to question what went wrong in the first place.  This happened in my family many years ago when my Aunt Kathy’s younger children opted to live with their dad, rather than mom, after a bitter divorce.  Kathy was devastated and I lost touch with Camille and Adrian.  A few years later, Kathy tragically died.  Her oldest son found ways to cope with his grief in ways that did not include my side of the family.  I was heart broken.  Not only had I lost my aunt, my sister, my best friend, but I lost her children too.

 

I actually joined the world of social media with the intention of finding and reconnecting with these 3 cousins – Julian, Camille, and Adrian.  It killed me to know there was a rift, a separation, that was growing bigger every year as our lives became more independent of each other.  It hurt me to know these kids, now adults, would never know their mother the way I did.  It became my mission to build a bridge to these lost family members.  The Nancy Drew in me hunted them down and waited patiently in the wings of their lives for opportunities to interject my love and support.  All the while the hurt of death, broken promises, and oceans of unspoken hurt is growing.  Would we ever re-connect?  Would they ever let me in?  Would they ever see past the mistakes of their mother to welcome the love of other family members?  Would I ever come to know my cousins?

 

I spent years in this holding pattern and then it happened.  The stars aligned, the bridge was  tested, the correspondence began and I relished every minute.  Conversations began to take place between Julian and me.  A few letters were exchanged.  Sometimes large periods of time would pass between cards and calls.  I watched their lives unfold on Facebook and prayed to be part of what they were each creating.  Camille had a son.  Julian started a new life in Florida.  Adrian fell in love with helicopters and boats, working on giant pieces of equipment I found terrifying but he adored.  Suddenly, an update on Facebook – Julian is engaged!  Soon after a friend request from the fiance.  I was in heaven!  This angel of a young woman reached out her hand and pulled me into their lives!

 

Last weekend I attended the wedding of Julian and his bride, Tamra.  It had been 12 years since he and I were last together.  I was overwhelmed with love and pride at the man he has become.  So handsome and so talented!  I spent the most precious time with Camille, falling head over heels in love with her 3 year old son.  I hadn’t seen Camille since she was 9 and here she was a young woman, a mother, on a spiritual path that left me in awe.  Adrian was no  longer the little boy hiding around the corner, but a strong, handsome young man.  I couldn’t believe we were all together again!  It was truly a surreal occasion.  The anxiety and fear of reconnecting melted away with the first hugs and all that mattered was family.   These were my blood relatives.  We share DNA.  Suddenly blood mattered.  It connected us.  And we were finally together again.

 

My giant ah-ha moment of the weekend took place in the elevator of the hotel where the wedding took place.  If I was THIS excited to re-connect with my birth family members who had been lost to me for all these years because of a rift, or split, that was beyond my control, how will my children feel to re-connect with the birth family they have never known?  I was scared, anxious, nervous, fearful of rejection, excited, relieved, worried, and so much more prior to reconnecting with my 3 cousins who I had known as a child.  I can only imagine what my girls will feel as they wait to meet birth families they have never known.  Adoption was a rift, or separation, beyond their control.  And someday, I hope to stand next to each of my daughters on the ride in the elevator to meet her birth family.   I would love to watch the puzzle pieces fall into place for the people I love the most in this world.  As a mother, I want to share in their joys and their sorrows and reuniting with birth families some day will certainly be a bit of both.

 

I thank God for family – all kinds.  Some family you choose and some you don’t.  Some family is with you every day and some are not.  Families can brake, but they can also heal.  For me, family is about love which never dies.  10+ years had passed without my seeing these amazing young people I am proud to call my cousins, but I never stopped loving them.  I know a joy now that I didn’t know before because they are back in my life.  I didn’t realize I still grieved for  my Aunt Kathy until suddenly I didn’t feel it anymore.  The weight of the loss was gone.    In the same way, I may not see the grief of adoption in my children, but I know it is there.  And someday, I hope to help them build and cross the bridge to their birth families so I may see the joy that comes from connection.  For now, I am addressing Thanksgiving cards to my cousins for the first time ever and it feels really good.

 

My Cousins

 

Chance Encounters in Dillard’s November 7, 2012

Filed under: Life,Motherhood — brownbabiespinkparents @ 3:12 am

Today I stopped by Dillard’s in hopes of finding something fabulous to wear to my cousin’s wedding this weekend in Florida.  They are having a beach wedding, which has left me in a pickle as to what to wear.  My flight departs in 2 days so we’re in crunch time at this point.  I must find something to wear …. NOW.

Much to my surprise, I found a ton of options at Dillard’s.  I was carrying an arm load of items when I spotted Ms. Personality.  Yes, Ms. Personality has worked in this department since approximately the dawn of time and she must have talents of which I am not aware in order to keep this job so long.  I approached her about starting a dressing room for me, which she did, after explaining to me how she would like the items handed to her.  I digress.  Sorry.

She set me up in the back of the dressing area, directly next to an older woman trying on formal wear.  What first drew my attention to the woman “next door”  were her sniffles.  This lady was obviously suffering from allergies and the sniffles were making me nuts.  I couldn’t take it anymore and offered her a Kleenex under the dressing room wall.  She gladly accepted it and thus began an encounter I will never forget.
My dressing room neighbor was shopping for a dress to wear to her son’s wedding in a few short weeks.  She recently lost a lot of weight and the original outfit would not work.  Her best girlfriend was running back and forth from the dressing room with different styles and colors.  I explained I was also shopping for something to wear to a wedding, but mine was Saturday and on the beach.  We laughed together about keeping a great hairstyle in place on the beach.  All of this through the dressing room wall.

I went back to trying on clothes when I heard the Best Friend tell Mother of the Groom how great she looked.  Mother of the Groom  said in a defeated tone, “Ms. Personality didn’t think it was too great and you say I look good in anything.”  I don’t  know what prompted me to speak up,  but I shouted across the wall, “Ms. Personality doesn’t have her glasses on.  What does she know!”  Both ladies laughed and I opened my door to see Mother of the Groom standing there in a gorgeous green top and flowing black dress pants.

The two friends were struggling with buttons on the front of the top.  The Mother of the Groom rolled her eyes at me and explained how chemo treatments were affecting the fine motor skills necessary to fasten the buttons.  The Best Friend wasn’t having much luck and couldn’t seem to locate her glasses.  They asked me if I could help and I did.  As I was buttoning, I noticed how large the top was on her.  I suggested she get a smaller size and her friend agreed.  Standing this close to her, I noticed the absence of eye lashes and eye brows.  She was definitely wearing a wig and her demeanor was tense.

While the Best Friend went to get a smaller size, I put on my street clothes.  I passed her closed dressing room door and wished her luck.  I took my items to Ms. Personality to ring up.  A few minutes later I saw the 2 women from the dressing room flagging me down.  I left the counter to see Mother of the Groom in a smaller size and looking incredible in this vibrant green.  I made a fuss over her the way I do my kids and she began to shine, just like my kids do.  She asked me if I could please help her with the buttons again, which I did.  Ironically, Ms. Personality pointed out I did not work for Dillard’s.  It didn’t matter.  We were old friends by now, both going to a wedding.

I completed the buttons and tied the sash.  She was checking herself out in the mirror when she said, “My boobs  hang down to my knees.”  I chuckled and asked if she had ever had a professional bra fitting.  I explained I have recently lost some weight and a new bra made all the difference.  Her response shocked me.

“I am 73 years old and scheduled for a double mastectomy in January.  What’s the point in getting a new bra now?”

Before I knew it, my mouth opened and words poured forth. This was definitely a “Jesus Take the Wheel” moment.  “Well, I don’t know of a better time for a bra fitting!  Think of this as your last hoo-rah!  You deserve to spend a little extra money on yourself to lift the girls to the sky, add a little cleavage, and feel even better about yourself.  Think how much tinier that waist is going to be when the girls are lifted.” I am standing behind this woman, a former stranger, touching her shoulders and pointing to her waist while adjusting her top.  Ms. Personality is seething but the Best Friend is howling.

Before I knew it, Mother of the Groom turned to look at me and said, “You’re absolutely right.  Let’s go get a new bra!”  The Best Friend clapped her hands together and squealed with delight.  Mother of the Groom was beaming.  It was obvious she felt like a million bucks.  And I felt wonderful.  I wished them luck, congratulated her on the son’s engagement, and returned to the counter to complete my transaction.

I left Dillard’s with tears in my eyes.  I never caught their names.  I know our paths will never cross again.  And I know I will never forget this Mother of the Groom.  I can’t imagine losing both of my breasts after extensive chemo treatments.  I can’t imagine what her body has been through and the challenges she faces adjusting to a new body.  I am so thankful to have been in this dressing room at this exact moment.  I met a warrior today and she was beautiful.  I hope I look this good at 73 with a mouthy best friend by my side, still talking about the location of our girls.  God bless you, Mother of the Groom, wherever you are!  Thank you for crossing my path today.

 

The Courage of Daughters November 5, 2012

Filed under: Adoption,Motherhood — brownbabiespinkparents @ 4:39 pm

November is National Adoption Awareness Month and I continue to marvel that I have 3 daughters.  3!  I  never thought 1 was possible and now I have 3!  Of course, there are days when I long for the carefree days of sleeping late, taking care of only myself, and not receiving a free gift with purchase at mealtime.  Can I get an Amen?

I love my daughters.  And I marvel that these 3 young ladies found me or maybe I found them.  Regardless of whether the chicken or the egg comes first, I have the right children.  I think we were meant to be together because they are the manifestation of my highest self.  I grew up such a fearful child.  I was afraid of disappointing my parents, afraid of trying something new, afraid of failing, afraid of looking silly or ridiculous.  There was so much fear in my life.  I fantasized about being front and center on a stage, completely absent of fear.  This was my dream as a child.

I worried about raising children with the same fears.  I didn’t want to teach my children to be fearful the way I used to be.  And guess what happened?  Through my kiddos, my fears subsided.  I could do and would do anything for my children.  I didn’t care if I looked ridiculous or silly.  Failure simply meant I discovered what didn’t work and could move forward to find out what would work.  My daughters taught me to follow my heart, to throw caution to the wind.  And my life is a whole new world with them in it.

Yesterday we spent the day at Sea World in San Antonio.  I was blown away by the courage of my daughters, riding every ride no matter how big or how wet. I would never have done this at their age.  I was terrified of the unknown, of being out of control when I was their ages of almost 10, 7, and 4.  I was so afraid of roller coasters and hated to get wet at a public place when I would have to walk around wet.  But not my girls!

Madison, McKenzie and Morgan rode every roller coaster they could!  All 3 rode the Journey to Atlantis ride at least 5 times and they were SOAKED to the BONE all day long.  Thank goodness I hadn’t combed hair on Saturday as planned!  I was so proud of each of them for following their hearts, for being absent of fear.  I marveled at their ability to have fun without a moment of hesitation.  I delighted in their courage.  Even baby Morgan!

I am a lucky, lucky mama.  God gave me these children for a reason.  Through them, I see the highest vision of myself.  And it looks great!