Sunday, December 2, 2012

First holidays together....

Tigger, S, and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We were with my parents and my relatives.  S's relatives have all moved out of state and this was his first year without any family for both Thanksgiving and now Christmas coming up so it's a little melancholy for him, however, we've been making new memories and that has been wonderful.

After Thanksgiving, I found out I was pregnant and it was a shock....newlywed still on birth control so have absolutely no idea how that happened.   We were very excited and happy after the shock wore off...however, it was not meant to be as the end of the week brought on a miscarriage.  We were devastated and it was a rocky start to the December holidays.

This weekend brought some happiness though as we decided to get a real Christmas tree this year (I have done artificial trees for about 8 years now) and of course Tigger has enjoyed the whole process today.  Sadness and joy.  I'm thankful I have my family and S for the good and the bad.  It truly makes life bearable and still with hope.

We found Santa on a rainy December day

Which Tree????? Tigger on top of the world

May the Christmas and Holiday season bring you closer to your loved ones whether the times are good or bad, happy or sad, or a mixture of emotions!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How adoption has helped me see clearly in marriage (so far)

No I'm not stuck to the computer every night like I used to be, however, I did want to write at least a few entries during this month in honor of Adoption Awareness Month.

This may not ring true in everyone's life but this is an amazing coincidence in mine.  Adoption has helped me in the dating/engagement/getting married period.  Why?  Because in both situations, I'm not the "only".

As we all know, adoption consists of loss due not having the family you were born also is a wonderful reminder that one's heart can hold the love of multiple people.  I'm not Tigger's first mother.  Or second or third.....(at least 2 foster homes before my home) I'm the one that is raising her and that has adopted her.  There can be no comparisons made.  I love my daughter deeply.  I have no reason to believe that Tigger's first/birth mother didn't love her deeply.  What I do know is that her life was full of problems and she was not able to parent....despite whatever feelings she had.   This is foster care, the courts don't terminate parental rights lightly, I get this....however, I don't feel threatened by the "other woman", nor do I feel the need to one-up her in my life.  I have chosen different paths in life and am able to provide a stable home, she has not reached that level yet, but that doesn't mean we should ever compare or say who is the better and the more "real" mother.  I don't need to win a competition.  I love Tigger and can handle the fact that she has 2 moms....her mother and her mami.

I married a wonderful man.  He is truly wonderful indeed and I wouldn't have it any other way.  He is a widower.  I am not the first wife.  Because I watched my grandpa and his wife all my life, I know that this dynamic can be hard.  My step-grandmother has always tried to "win" the competition and try to live a life based on being a 'better wife' at the beginning.  My dad's family at times has been brutal to her....but I can see what comparing and trying to one-up another woman can wears on you.  The woman my husband was married to was a wonderful woman.  In fact she and I probably could have been friends as she was an Occupational Therapist and I"m a Speech Therapist....our fields work together.  First of all, you don't compare yourself to a deceased person, we always remember the best of the deceased and one will always fall short.  But most important of all, I see how S truly loves me.  He has expressed the fact that he is grateful that God has given him a second chance at happiness.  Yes, I am the second chance, but I know that I'm not loved less.  He loves me truly as much as I know he truly loved his late wife.  No comparisons, no one-upping.  Life sucked in the fact that he lost a good wife and that cannot be undone.  I don't beat myself up because of his loss, neither do I take away from his past.  I am content and I know he can love me for who I am without diminishing the love he had for his late wife.

That's how I know.....adoption has helped me really grasp the concept.  I don't need to one-up another woman, I can love Tigger like hell and know that when she expresses any type of love/want/need to know more questions or feelings that it doesn't diminish our relationship.  There is room to love 2 different people without diminishing the other.

Thank you Tigger.  Thank you S.  I'm proud and happy to be one of "the other women".  I can't imagine life without either of you and despite complicated pasts, I love you both for who you are and where you came from.

Adoption Awareness month also means, be aware of aware of conflict of man or woman enough to be proud of being "the other".  Love multiplies and can handle a lot.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November and all the memories: #1

First of all, before I start, I kinda updated some information on this blog.  Primarily reflecting the part that I'm now a married lady and no longer a single parent.  For those of you who wonder, I had a fabulous wedding, and the honeymoon was divine.  Because I always had a personal thing against being a single parent with boyfriends spending the nights or living in before the serious commitment came in (for the mental health sake of the child) while S had all his stuff moved in by the 2nd week of September, this month has been about adjusting to him being around 24/7.  It's been a trip.....wonderful and different.  Tigger did have some regression in the obedience/testing boundaries stage, however, that was always expected, but slowly we are getting into a rhythm.

But enough about that, as you all may know (or not know) November is National Adoption Awareness Month.  And since this was mainly established for children in foster care, I felt a few blog entries are in order especially in these dire economic times.

2 years ago, I had the pleasure of finalizing the adoption of my Tigger.  I was her foster mom for 11 months and 5 days before the legalities were over, however, November 2010 marked the end of the foster care world and 'normal' life.

During the ceremony before the families were individually called for their turn in the courtroom, the director of our county's foster care program said that this year there were 500 adoptions happening on National Adoption Day (Nov. 20th).  While many people clapped, and yes for foster children this was good news for them, but I just thought "how sad".  Think about it, 500 children born into family situations filled with physical, emotional, sexual abuse, neglect, sometimes extreme substance abuse which led to harm etc. etc. etc.  That is just sad.

What I found encouraging that day was that many families were adopting not only toddlers, but I saw families finalizing with an older child or an older sibling set and I was thinking, that's good that these siblings are together or yay, an older child has a home now.  I hope stability is in their future.

I do support National Adoption Awareness Month in the way it was meant to be....for children in foster care.  They need homes.....people that are able and willing to put forth the work that parenting brings should have resources to be able to give children a second chance.  I believe this mentality is different than other types of adoption....these children have had a chance and for some reason or another that didn't work out, but they deserve a chance.  Not because the people adopting are angels or hero's or whatnot, but because children are our future and should have a chance at stability.

Now on the flip side, we should also support resources for individuals and families so they have a chance at changing their lives so their children aren't impacted by abuse or substance abuse.  My husband S and his job has given me a window into this side.  S is a medical social worker and at this time is a supervisor and coordinator for all the anger management groups, domestic violence groups, substance abuse, and troubled teens.  He works with an agency that is connected with another county's department of probation and parole.  So many of his clients have had children removed because of physical abuse or substance abuse issues in the home.  My husband does his best to make a difference.  He is a perfect man for this job.  While he is the biggest teddy bear in the world and has the biggest heart in the world, he is a rough around the edges guy.  He doesn't take crap and he dishes it back in a way that some of his clients need.  Thing is, he cares about his clients and he knows that their support system is nilch so their choices have not been the best.  By providing counseling and group services in order to better their lives (men and women), maybe some of these clients can be reunited with their children in a healthier manner and bonds do not have to be broken.  S isn't naive, he knows he can't reach everyone because at the end of the day it's each person's decision whether or not to take his anger management advice and techniques or turn around from drugs and alcohol, however, he believes that if even one or two clients get their act together and get some sort of education, their families back or working better with other relationships, he's done his job.

Why is this important, because it's a resource, and if we don't support these resources, then lives can't be changed either.  Thinking about children and their best interests means we need to be aware of what resources are out there and support them for either biological parents or adoptive parents if the former cannot be.

500 adoptions from foster care is 500 children needing's also 500-1000 biological parents that may need services like those my husband provides....not all of them will change, but that's not our concern....our concern is that children have chances in this world, either with their families if possible because then familial bonds are not broken, or with appropriate adoptive parents, so they can have a second chance and be our future, in whatever manner that expectations, just decent and kind human beings.

Monday, September 17, 2012

20 days

In 20 days I'll be married.  Be on the lookout for a new name for this blog.  Life has been....well busy.  Tigger is now moved up to the 3-4 year old room for the year.  She is doing well in preschool.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Breath You Take

To answer some questions I recently received, no I'm not quitting on my blog.  I have just been incredibly busy wedding planning, remodeling the house with S, and enjoying Tigger.  While I love blogging and I love the people and bloggers I have met here in cyberspace, sometimes family priorities truly come first.

Tigger is getting so big.  She is just a delight in between preschool girl diva normal angst.  Her speech and language development blows me away and her personality is really shining through.  I absolutely love my summers with her.  She will be turning 3 years old on Sunday.  She is very excited about her little mermaid party and of course she mentions that she has to have balloons at her party with little mermaid.  So of course I've made the balloon order already because that is very important this year.
shopping date with Tigger

S and I have been taking Tues/Thurs this summer to remodel my house before the wedding, and I decided to enjoy every moment because he was looking to start applying for more work after the wedding and I just had a feeling deep down that he wouldn't have days off like this in the future.  I'm glad I listened to my gut and enjoyed this process with him as 2 weeks ago he received a promotion at work and now has full time work, is on salary instead of hourly with benefits.  What an awesome answer to prayer especially to have this in place before the wedding.  Of course that means that I no longer have those 2 days during the week to finish up organizing and let me tell you we both have missed this, yet we are thankful that we enjoyed the process and that we had most everything done anyways.

Once life and family become more routine, I plan on blogging regularly and actually have more adoption type blog posts.  There have been many to post, however, time with my new family has been important and I didn't have adequate time to be on the computer at this moment, even though S doesn't live here yet.

I guess I just want to make sure that even in my Facebook, online blogging, iPhone technology whatever, I would live life dedicated to being the best parent/soon to be spouse that I can be.  I love country music and so does S.  There is a song by George Strait that really nails the point and maybe can explain why my blog has been quiet recently....I hope that my life will reflect the lyrics found in this song.  Because life really "isn't the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away" and quite frankly, I don't want to miss any of those moments.  I hope neither do you.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Moving right along

The house remodeling is almost done.  Most of the major wedding planning is done, now it's just the nitty gritty and ride til the wedding day....which is almost 3 months off.  Time is flying by!  And now to totally give you the 'gag me' love photos.  Yes, engagement pictures finally came!

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Proposal Story

Apparently a CD I burned for S a while ago with lots of my favorite country music on it....including one I put in there about "putting a ring on that finger I'm wrapped around"...."only been 7 months, but that's long enough, to put a ring around that finger"  made an impression because at the 6 1/2 going on 7 months I received a proposal from S.  Here is how it went.

S found out I had my spring break the last week of March.  He was excited about it because he has Tuesday's off and wanted to do something with me.  So we planned to go to the beach.  That weekend before, he asked which beach I wanted to go to, and gave me a few options.  Well I hadn't gone to one beach with a pier that he mentioned so he said perfect, I love that pier and beach, you will too!

Tuesday morning came and off we went with Tigger in tow.  We laughed and chatted away on the drive over to the beach.  The day was sunny albeit windy and cool.  We were in khaki shorts and our navy blue sweatshirts and flip flops.  We had fun at the beach.  Tigger was fascinated by the ocean and we let her play (with a watchful eye as if it were up to her, she would dive into the ocean with no restraint) for a bit until she started turning purple and I went to change her clothes.

Then S said he wanted to walk to the end of the pier.  We held hands and were kissing while pushing the stroller down the pier.  At the end, we were gazing into the ocean and S said he had to do something really quick.  I said ok, and saw him turn a bit then all of a sudden, I see him down on his knee asking me to "marry me......please".  I think my jaw dropped, I think I heard a couple of people going "awwwww".  And I said 'uh what?...I mean yes of course, but really?"

S began to try to talk through a rehearsed speech but then started crying which then made me tear up and well you know, he slipped the ring on my finger and we both just hugged and kissed for a while, while keeping an eye on Tigger dancing away near us.  She loved my ring and tried to tell me that it was hers and not mine.

Later on in May, we will take our engagement photos at the pier where he proposed, and under the pier, and on the beach.  Both of us love the ocean and the beach so quite honestly, this was the best place and the best casual outfits ever for this event.

And that is how I got engaged!  With Tigger as a witness!

Getting to the beach.  One of my favorite pictures of S and Tigger

S and Tigger playing on the beach

S picked out a very nice ring I adore all by himself 

Right after the proposal.....a self portrait shot with my iPhone