Love is What Saves Us

My son and I were working outside in the yard yesterday evening. He’s axing away at a tree. I’m clearing a heavily dense area into what will be a secret garden. I’m tired and sweaty.

The silence breaks with him, “Mom, you are doing an amazing job with my sister’s kids. You are raising them to be loving and healthy children.”

“Baby, where is this coming from?” I asked because it took me by surprise.

“You have to wait for them to go to bed in order to come out here and work on what you love to do which is nature. You sacrifice a little bit of you to help them survive. They are constant. They don’t give you a chance to breathe during the day (he giggles). I know this is not what you had in mind at this time of your life when we were all gone….”

I interrupt and stop pulling at the earth. Breathing heavily, I sit on the ground next to him feeling defeated. “Nelson, I truly don’t think I’m doing the best job for them or for me. Your sister was hard because of all her mental issues. They have so much of her running through their blood. I’m not the same woman I was then or have the same amount of energy….”

“You are better.” He stops clearing the tree and sits next to me, “You are giving them life. They would be dead with her. You and Matt have created a foundation and loving home. And you always say that love is all we need. They are a LOT. I admit that it’s overwhelming at times but they truly love you so much. They are smart and they are constantly challenging you and the world around them.”

He hugs me. I shed a few tears. Mostly of gratitude for recognition.

That was the pause needed to just finish for the day. It was getting dark. My body ached but I felt great to have done so much with his help in a couple of hours.

This second act at mothering children is different. It’s conscious parenting. It’s a lot harder than before. It’s also a lot easier than before. These children are thriving and I have zero expectations for them except that they feel loved. I’m trusting they continue to find the magic in the world and give love to it.

And that they are.

When my 31 year old recognizes the journey it does make it special. He’s been here five weeks…the longest time he’s spent with them. We spoke a bit more. He was kind and loving and full of insight. The adult in him acknowledges the adult in me.

Walking back to the house the earth seemed to sink us into it with gratitude for tending to her on Earth Day. At that moment I thanked the greatest mother of all…Gaia…and all the lessons she teaches me.

Sweet Love Story

Some love stories are heartbreaking. Others not so much.

Today is two years this baby boy has been in the foster care system. On Valentine’s Day of 2018 he was placed in a caring and loving foster care home. It would take another two months for us to find out where he was.

On the day my husband and I were flying to Peru the GAL in Florida contacted us. She sent pictures of him. He had just turned one a few days before. My husband and I created a new journey with him in our hearts. We were heartbroken and elated simultaneously.

When Luke was born I begged social services in Florida to not let my daughter take him home. She had already lost her first born whom we adopted. But they did nothing. Month after month I would call. They had my number but she kept moving to different counties and that was never followed up.

It’s easy to screw with the system. There is no national registry to inform different counties or states of prior child abuse.

I would text with my daughter asking how she was and how he was. Everything was “always fine.” Even on that Valentine’s Day I sent her a message since she wouldn’t speak to me on the phone.

A month later my deceased father came in a dream and told me that this baby boy was in foster care. I texted my daughter at 5am that day and asked when he was removed. She didn’t know how I knew. She told me he had been removed on Valentine’s. She was now pregnant with her third child.

And after we were finally in contact with Florida it would take another six months to get him into our care even though I am his grandmother and only next of kin.

This little boy was afraid of men. He was malnourished and had stomach issues. The foster family were angels with him. He couldn’t crawl or hold himself up. And today he doesn’t stop running. Today he is the funniest itty bitty comedian who adores everyone, especially my husband (his daddy).

My daughter (his mother) arrived into my life at the age of 9 from a horrible orphanage in Romania. She’s not a monster. She’s the victim of a broken system there. And all four of her children are victims of the system here that requires strong willed folks to fight it.

These are the love stories that are hard to share. These are the parts of humanity that we don’t often want to explore. And it’s okay because one day the system won’t be set up to protect the adult. It will be set up for the protection of the child who has parents that really cannot be parents no matter how many classes or therapy or whatever they finish within the time given to reunify with their kids. Some folks, due to mental disabilities or addiction or other circumstances, will never be able to care for their children. Yet, the law is set up to give them a chance and hope that will never happen.

How do we change it? It starts with creating new laws about the children. How does this happen? Legislators and an array of political obstacles. Where does the money come from? Same place money appears for wars and catastrophic issues. Because this is a catastrophic issue in this country.

He is our future. 650,000 children in the system, yearly, are our futures. I refuse to have them fail or be victims of a broken system. They deserve better. We all deserve the very best.

Two years today he’s been in foster care and there is still zero resolution or an idea of when we will be able to legally adopt him.

His second sister and baby brother are also in care of the state. Both being cared by loving folks.

Love stories also have happy endings. Luke has one. And so many others because of folks who are determined to care for children who have been deeply neglected. There are so many angelic souls opening their hearts and homes to children. And many want to adopt them….

Happy Valentine’s Day, darlings. This little dude is one of my favorite gifts today.

Walking Children into Safety

In 2018 there were approximately 687,000 children in foster care.

Out of that amount 63,000 were adopted that year.

52% were male. 48% were female.

About 30% of the children in foster care have severe emotional, behavioral and developmental issues. This number is rising with lack of services for each individual.

There are over 329 million people living in the United States. So when you see that number it seems like a small amount of foster children. It becomes an after thought…someone else’s problem. What can we do that hasn’t already been done, right?!

Many children go back to their parents or primary caretakers – (56% of them). Others get lost in the system. Some grow out of the foster care since they become of legal age (and many fall into the cycle of their parents because they have owned the stigma of foster children). There is a large demographic of blacks, biracial, Latinos, and other minorities.

I don’t do charts well. My brain is not very analytical. I feel. That’s what I do. So when I see the staggering numbers of this reality I cringe. It stops me. My heart breaks open. I have lived it with my own children and the fractured system. Not just in this country but a third world country.

How can we fix the system? There is a drug epidemic. There is a rise in abuse. There are economic issues and social problems thrown in there as well. There is a lack of awareness of what happens to many of these kids who slip through the cracks in many states. The courts and social care systems are depleted. There is not enough man power or money to help these children, the parents, and the foster caretakers. There is just no consistency from one state to another…therefore, children are often not able to get the best care.

The system is set up to reunify the children with their parents. In many cases this becomes a cycle of psychological welfare for the children. They get taken out of their homes, put into a stranger’s house, and then return to parents who really cannot properly parent their children. And a small percentage die in the hands of parents who get them back.

It’s staggering. Overwhelming. Inexcusable. These are the future adults of this nation.

Let’s start with the basics.

I would like to know if anyone here knows of folks who help start non-profits. I have several ideas of how to start small into changing the system. Please message me. It’s time! Dharma.1111@hotmail.com

Your Purpose is your GPS

For a few months my husband and I were prepared for a huge change. We had decided to take another child, my sweet babies’ little sister. Unless a miracle happened and she was able to stay with her foster family (she’s been there since she was born and she’s 15 months old) we would fight to make sure she would come with us.

The energy was in motion. No regrets. No hesitations. We knew what was right. We also felt miracles happening. What seemed to be an impossible situation would be cleared up.

I didn’t share publicly. I did not want to hear one single person judge me on “not another kid, Millie!” Or anything else. I needed to send the vibes to the broken system of Florida foster care and the courts. I needed all my energy to fight for what is the best possible outcome for our granddaughter. So I did. We did. My husband and I talked about it daily. We made changes in our lives and home. We began to prepare for whatever we needed to do. And we did. Every day came closer to vibrational alignment.

Yesterday we heard that the agency will allow for the foster family to keep her just as she’s been. It was a miracle indeed. It has been an ongoing battle that has made many of us truly uncomfortable (to be left in the hands of a privatized company that doesn’t see the welfare of the child but dollar signs). There was a possibility she would be going into an unsafe environment. We still have to go to court in a few weeks but that decision was a tremendous relief, not because we didn’t want her here, but because

she has a family she’s loved since the day she was taken from my daughter.

I share this because the moment you release and surrender to the divine is the moment the universe begins to align with your energy.

You don’t have to share publicly as you struggle. You don’t have to fight naysayers. You just stick with your faith and send the energy out for the best possible outcome.

I know folks will always want the best for you. Some don’t understand your choices. Some will challenge your beliefs. Some will expect you to change your mind. Some will make you feel as if you are insane. But, darling, you DO YOU. You do what you need to do for you and your family.

And, let me share something that is magical…I have come to the acceptance that I have to fight for other children. I recognize now that I’ve been fighting for children’s rights since I was in my 20’s. It hasn’t been only through taking them into my home. It’s been through standing up for a system in our society that is fractured and deeply wounded. I will continue to do so however that shows up.

Our spirituality is a personal fit and wear. I teach and learn through those who have little voices. And I will continue to take in whoever needs it whether in my home or just fighting to keep them safe. I am not asking permission. I am stating a fact instead of having to duck my head down not to cause discomfort around me. Judgment is always available!

Now you…get out there and recognize your truth and your purpose. It might feel like a small defeat or it might be a huge fight. Surrender to the mysticism of what you believe that you are guided at all times.

Blessings. Be guided by the higher powers. I love you.

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.


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.