Don’t Judge an Act of Love

We got a call on May 28th, 2014, from the Department of Social Services. My granddaughter was going to be removed from my daughter. I had two hours to go get her.

I paused. Even though I suspected and intuitively knew it was going to happen there was still a shock factor to the words.

My husband, then fiancé, without hesitation said while I was quiet with the investigator, “Where do we go pick her up?”

A few hours later she was in our care. This was his first child. She was my seventh. Her mother had arrived at nine years of age from Romania into my care. She has mental disabilities, bipolar and a rainbow of other disorders that have caused mayhem throughout all the years I’ve loved her. And, oh my gosh, how deeply I love her. She continues to teach me on a high level of compassion.

So we picked my granddaughter up at the agency. We had nothing but a box of diapers and bottles. They handed me formula and a car seat. We ran to get a playpen. We had to get some extra clothing. At the time our finances were also super tight. I had my last child home who was graduating high school the following month and would be turning 18 in August.

People always make two comments to me that shake me up. I wonder how humanity has made it this far. First one is “Did you have another option than to take her in?” (This is asked many different ways).

Second one is “I don’t think I could do it.” (Sometimes this is implied as if we are some kind of heroes. We are not. We are humans)!

It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks because until the event shows up no one really knows how they will react.

It took two and a half years of waiting and fighting to adopt her. Finally on December 1st of 2016, she was ours.

My daughter got pregnant with her second child and I heard from a woman in her building who took my number down from borrowing her phone. My daughter at the time was four months into her pregnancy. I felt it. She’s in Florida and we are in North Carolina. I would hear from her periodically. Since she got pregnant I heard from her only twice and when she did call I would ask and she would lie.

Her baby was born in April of 2017. She was alone. She didn’t know who was the baby’s father. I called social services and begged them not to let her take the child home. It took 10 months for anyone to do something. By this time he had been terrorized by her new boyfriend, had gotten pregnant again with her third and finally the county removed him from her care.  We got the call two months after he was removed, right around the time he was to turn one years old.

I was asked by the social worker if we wanted him. I was completely torn. My husband and I were to leave to Peru for my 50th birthday the following week. The social worker told me it was a long shot. I went home and shared with my husband who immediately said he wanted the baby boy. Our little girl needed a sibling. I called the social worker and told her we would take him. It took another six months of fighting with the system to get him. It was excruciating and exhausting. And, once again, the comments began with folks who believe they have the answers. “Not again! You aren’t going to take on another one…?”

Yet, something had changed in my life from all my other adoptions. My circle of friends are supportive. They are tribal. They gathered together and helped make this a wonderful experience. For the first time after seven other children, I had a baby shower. I was shown support from many. The few who had negative comments weren’t in my immediate life anymore. I changed and, therefore, my circle changed.

I won’t tolerate negativity any longer!

Our hearts determine our lives. I don’t judge anyone for saving a child. I can’t. I have learned after eight of them that I am here to mother many. My husband is an incredible father. This is his first rodeo and I’m navigating the challenges and struggles, the love and sleepless nights, the snuggles and cuddles, the reward of seeing two more children saved from a horrific situation. As for my daughter, she will continue to do whatever she wants to do. She’s allowed to because the system is corrupt. She lost her third child (immediately that she was born) and the baby is thriving in a beautiful home.

We are made from love to give love away as much, as often, and as freely as possible.

Adoption is a personal choice. Taking kids into your home is a remarkable way of giving back to this world. It is not for everyone. It’s not easy and these children are traumatized. They need assistance and patience. I ask that when you hear someone talk about adopting, or fostering, you can save the judgment and recognize the magic that’s happening to those little souls. You get to shape your perception and your words carefully.

Our lives are all connected. Each one of us. How you act and react is felt through the waves of consciousness. So…let’s be love.  Let’s be examples for the new generations. Let’s live through acceptance and awareness. You don’t know what’s in store for you tomorrow. You just never know what curve ball will be heading your way.


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Just a Matter of Time

We headed South a week ago to pick up our new baby boy who is 17 months old. It’s been an intense few months. One legal fight after another. He’s adjusted from the first night and we are blessed. It was just a matter of time before the questions would start from our four year old about her new baby brother!

Kali: Mama, who is my baby’s mommy? Is it Kara (I don’t know why she thinks it’s my friend)

Me: no, baby girl, she’s not his mommy.

Kali: who is his mommy and why didn’t she want him? What’s her name? Where does she live?

Me: she couldn’t keep him. She’s sick. Her name doesn’t matter right now. She’s not healthy enough to have him. So he came here that way we can give him a good life. And love him a lot.

Kali: mommy, he will be loved. Forever and ever. And she cannot have him back. (She says this as she’s holding on to him tightly).

Me: sometimes people are used to physically have babies so others can give them the love they deserve. Not everyone can be a mommy or daddy. Not every should be.

Kali: then he got in the right house. You and my daddy are great for the job. And he has a big sister and many other brothers.

**********

People think compassion is taught but compassion, like love, is a gift we are born with. We get to feed it and help it evolve but we are born with compassion, kindness and love. The rest is learned behavior. If a four year old (who has never wondered how she has two white parents) can feel the love in her family there is no reason the rest of us can’t just tap into that energy across the world.

Look for the divine in everyone.

Help the World Through Love

I was taught about the depth of acceptance this weekend. My daughter gave birth to a baby girl on Saturday. The baby is healthy. She will be going into a loving and safe environment. Along her side was a woman I am blessed has come into her life to guide her. She’s helping navigate the roller coaster of emotions. She’s a true earth angel.

My daughter has brokenness in places I pray will heal. Her inability to see things, due to mental disabilities, is heart wrenching to witness. And yet, she is my daughter. She is my heart. The baby was born a day after her 28th birthday. I am grateful for that. I cannot imagine her spending a lifetime celebrating her birthday with a child she had to give to another to raise.

I was blessed to be given moment by moment messages and conversations as she birthed her. Even many miles away I was there holding her hand and her heart. I pray she gets birth control and we stop the madness. She knows no one can force her do anything. It’s a control mechanism that even with my psych degree I cannot comprehend.

A few days before giving birth she begged me to take the new child in with the other two. I told her I couldn’t. I begged her to make responsible choices. The new baby will go to a loving family who has enriched me with compassionate gifts in love. Those lessons are magnificent.

This week I lifted my daughter with sweet kindness, letting her know she was strong; that she was a fighter; that these children were gifts to the world; that in each of those little souls she lives forever. I asked her to be gentle with herself. I asked her to please be mindful…and other intimate conversations that I’m sure she has already forgotten. Regardless of the words sinking in or not, I will continue to show love.

But somethings do stick. Every so often, in her limited capacity to converse, she shares a snippet of words I’ve said to her in the past. My heart skips a beat. I actually do a bit of a happy dance. I get an aha moment and pray more sticks.

I am her mother. She disappears for a bit and returns to me to let me know I have been her mother since she was 9 years old. She tells me that no one else has ever loved her like me. That’s huge! For her and for me. I take it in and accept it. I will continue to love her for however long love lives in me.

People have judged her due to her irresponsible acts…her choices. And I remind them that she’s human. She has her journey. She’s not a monster. We can dislike her choices but she is still my daughter and I will continue to love her in spite of it all. She is mentally ill. She is navigating in the capacity of her own awareness. If I rejected every mentally ill person I wouldn’t have a job. She deserves the same love a person who is mentally healthy receives. The lessons in true love are not in loving the easy ones. The true experiences are in accepting and loving the difficult ones. Those are the biggest teachers in our path.

Be kind to those who are suffering. Be loving to the addicts, the lost, the homeless, and those who don’t fit in your spectrum of what is normal. You don’t have to fix them. You just have to be loving. The world has so much hate. We do not need to keep fueling it with fear, anger, discrimination, and lower frequencies.

And…ultimately… show up and be in the presence of those who need a little light. Your heart will expand even wider. You have the capacity to transform another by accepting them. I love you. ~m.a.p.

Baby Steps

Our little boy, who is still in Foster care in Florida, took his first steps alone today. Like…completely alone with a huge smile. He got up by himself.

Let me explain why this is a HUGE event.

See, he was confined to a tiny space the first 10 months of his life. He didn’t crawl or get up or sit up. He was immobile… pretty much.

But, with the grace of God and a wonderful angelic foster family, he is thriving. He has been getting physical therapy. He is showing up, being fully present, and doing the work needed to heal.

He took his first baby steps! Recovering. Moving forward. Happily stepping into his own.

He reminds us to be brave. To move forward. To keep going. He is teaching us to take our own baby steps even when we are fearful.

That’s our boy! That’s our baby, at 13 months, compassionately and fully plunging into the unknown.

We anxiously wait for the day we get the okay to go get him. Meantime, he is doing what he’s suppose to do under the care of a loving family.

If he can do it so can we.

Celebrating Life

I sit in deep silence this morning as our kid sleeps way past her normal time. I was afraid of getting up and making coffee. It’s rare. She has this ability to feel me when my eyes open. That’s the connection we have. So this morning I am well aware of how we exhausted her this weekend through the travels.

Four years ago today we got the call. Department of Social Services said we had two hours to get her or she would be placed in foster care. My boyfriend, now husband, said immediately, “Where do we go?” He did not bother to discuss it. He was ready. He had never had children. I had raised six of them pretty much on my own.

Kali is technically my granddaughter. I adopted her mother from Romania when she was nine years old. Her mother is mentally challenged and has severe mental illnesses. She is out in the world functioning to the best of her ability. She is a survivor. Also a stubborn woman who doesn’t want to get on birth control. And she knows her rights. Next month she will be 28.

In a bit we will go and get her second son who just turned one. Kali is unaware of the details. At some point it will be discussed. For now we are the only parents she knows. And we love her beyond words. We are parenting her with the utmost amount of love in our hearts.

That’s the thing with the future: you don’t know how it will play out. Four years ago, she was 5 months old, my youngest daughter was about to graduate high school. I was looking forward to an empty nest. I was planning trips and retreats and books I would write. God had other plans. Because let’s face it, I am a mother. I have been mothering all of my life. It’s a job I know well.

So, today we celebrate the life of this little girl who shines. She truly has this inner light that keeps us glowing in her presence. She is waiting on her baby brother. She insists he is bright as well. She should know because she’s been talking about him before he was even born.

Live through love. Have no expectations of the future. Recognize that the best parts are the surprises. I love you.

Lost and Found

Yesterday my husband built a crib for the new baby. Kali has been anticipating this moment. It was a huge deal for her to help her daddy build the crib for her baby brother. She’s nesting in a way a pregnant woman nests for months before the big arrival. She was filled with such joy. She had to decorate it. She needed it to be “perfect!” And she would say over and over, “I’m so excited for my baby brother!” She’s four years old and I am aware how age means nothing when love is concern.

I stood watching the two of them build, re-adjusting to a life that’s coming. In the middle of the night, when she got up three times, I remembered the many nights of sleep deprivation. And then I saw my children grown, one who turns 23 years old tomorrow. The range of ages is from 30 down to 1 years old. How does this happen? It appears and morphs as God’s plan. I said from very young that I would have a house full of kids. It was a desire, a dream to be a mom. And my purpose here is to mother as many as possible and not just in my home. When I had six children living under the same roof there were extras who would move in…teenagers going to college, friends of friends, and so on. The house was never without children. They somehow found me and I was joyous to show up for them.

The building of the crib was monumental for Kali Rose. I saw in her the same emotions I’ve had with all my kiddos. I am witnessing a soul who just wants to be a mother to others. She wants to give love, share the love and be the love. She finds the ones who need it and makes them smile. Her daddy did such an amazing job putting it together while she declared when it was done, “I did such a great job building my baby brother’s bed.” We laughed. She told me, as they were working diligently, that I could only watch from the door. I was not to come in and help. She was the helper. And, I believe she will be an amazing helper to the world as she’s showing up, being available, and loving to the full of her capacity. She is like her mom, collecting the lost and found, making sure they recognize their worth.

Isn’t that what we are here to do? ~m.a.p.

In Order to Heal You Need to Let Go

When I was young I would lose my voice often. Laryngitis was common. In those days I let many people bulldoze over me and it would transform into a cold that would then take my voice for days. As I got older I didn’t lose my voice. It became strengthen by “voicing” things instead of holding them in. Two nights ago I lost part of my voice. I was disappointed by the way the courts are handling the decisions of our little boy that we will be adopting. We are at the mercy of a bureaucracy that has been fractured for some time. I believe everything happens in divine timing, however, I am also in the mental health profession and I see the injustices that happen in this law system. I get it. Unless you see it on a daily basis you don’t know how messed up we are as a country. We need change. I don’t know what it will take to truly start the many changes in this world that need to happen in masses. But something has to appear and soon.

I went to bed coughing up crap and after a few hours my voice was almost gone. By morning my voice was minimal. As yesterday went on I felt horrible. I woke this morning with nothing but a faint whisper accompanied by an achy body.

I am reminded of my power and how I manifest things…even the giving away my voice. Even when I really have no choice but to surrender… I have felt unheard. These things take time. I’m at the mercy of the illusion of time. Which is comical in so many levels.

So after sleeping most of today, loaded on cough medicine and decongestant, I recognize my ability to be present. So much so that my voice wasn’t heard because I was North Carolina and the hearing was in Florida. Things weren’t magnified and addressed as I had hoped. The important stuff wasn’t really discussed. I was not there to “voice” out the incompetence of agencies and other important issues. As an advocate for others I feel I could have said a few things to the judge that might have made him rush his decision.

I am well aware of how fortunate we are to still get this little boy when the time is right. And in spite of the time table we’ve been given I still believe it will be sooner. For now I have made peace with the decision and the waiting. It’s not my first time being in this place playing the waiting game. It’s all lessons in patience. I can play along as long as I am physically healthy. So for now I stop touching what feels achy near my heart and let it heal as it should.

Remember to not hold things in. Your physical body gets attacked by your emotional and spiritual one. I forget at times. Love you all who prayed and continue to do so. I know some of you have tried calling but I have no means to speak at the moment. I’m in the process of healing so I can return to work tomorrow. I am blessed beyond words for the massive support. Thank you!!! A million times over and over….thank you! I love you.