Archive | September 2014

Waiting until Forever

So I am going to write a post that is far from diabetes. Something very special and private…and something that is hard to articulate into words. Something that is plaguing me.  Some of my deepest desires and secrets.

There are a few people who know us that know just before we found out we were pregnant with our 3rd baby we were looking into fostering/adopting children. We had a homestudy done, took classes to prepare us, did physicals, all the lovely paperwork and entire nerve wracking process. It was exciting and my husband and I have both felt very strongly that one day we would be parents to a child that biologically was not ours, it has been something we have both felt deep within our core. We just have felt this longing or maybe I would even call it a ‘knowledge’ that there is someone, somewhere out there that needs us just as our family needs them. It feels right, we know it to be true.

So back to my point…Once we had completed everything required of us, we were ‘waiting’ for the right child to foster/adopt. We got a call (actually I missed the call and got a message late by about 3 days) that there were twins needing a foster home, possibly a foster/adopt situation. They were newborn and also born with issues from the mother having an addiction to meth (and using while they were in utero). Days prior to this call we had waited for we found out I was pregnant (which was a dream come true following a vasectomy reversal). At that time we had to make the decision to accept or not accept the babies. We prayed as a family, and knew the timing wasn’t right. I knew myself, and I also knew my challenges I had previously faced after giving birth to our two older children (I get severe post-partum depression) and we thought it be too much to take on 3 infants all only 9 months (or less) apart. We knew that load might just be too much. Not a single day has gone by that I haven’t thought of those babies, or longed to hold them. Not a day goes by that I wonder if they found their forever home, or if they were happy…they would be 5 years old now. Not a day goes by that I feel like in a way I gave up on them. My desire to pursue adoption once we felt ready starting growing the moment I had to let them go before I even had a chance to know them. I can honestly say that a part of my heart feels tied to them, or the notion of them, or the hope they give me that all children will one day have a forever home.

We now have 4 children, survived a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes for our oldest daughter, moved homes, and have changed from the people we once were when we first started the process of fostering/adopting. I think it has been roughly 6 years since (maybe 5) and the timing feels right. We are ready, we have grown, we are closer, we have learned to face challenges, we have grieved, we have progressed, and we have changed, and learned. I would now consider myself then naïve. So I know it is all about timing and that really things that took place, took place for a reason. I know this, but our desire or need for this child (or children) we know we are supposed to have has only grown. The promptings to start the progress again hit my husband and I pretty much at the same time (it is so loud we cannot ignore it). I love being a mother more than I love watching the sun rise or set, more than reading a good book in a bubble bath, more than the color pink, or the kisses from a puppy. I love being a mother, and being a mother for me feels almost like a calling. I don’t think I am the best mother (I am full of flaws, and I am farthest from being the best mother). I never knew I was capable of actually being a good mother (sounds strange, I know…but if you only knew me growing up). I never knew I was capable of facing the things I have, capable of loving or fighting for my children with the capacity I have…I just never even dreamed this life I have possible for the old me. I never knew I had it in me until the sparks started flying after I had my first child…slowly through my children, and our unique challenges, I have been shown ways I can be everything I never knew I could.

I consider being a mother a God-given gift. I consider it a privilege and quite possibly one of my life callings or reason…I feel it deep in my soul and know that each of my children make me a better person and better mother and challenges me in ways I need to be challenged so I can grow into the person Heavenly Father wants me to be. I know this as truth. I don’t think this is my calling because I am a stellar mother or the best, but because it in cooperates a part of my truth, soul, ability, and helps me develop the areas of my inner core I never knew existed. I love being a mother, I love staying at home and having those crazy, bad, rough days just because I know without them those small moments wouldn’t mean as much as they do. I love watching my children grow, learn and progress in life. I love watching them become amazing people…who are wise beyond their years. My goal as a mother is to create a safe place forever for them, that they know love (unconditionally), and grow them into caring human beings who leave this world a better place.

The past I would say 5 months I have had increased urges or promptings to start diving back into the adoption process. I could describe this as almost an aching. I often wonder about my child out there somewhere (or children). I have sat, alone deep in thought and cried…this feeling is nearly impossible to describe when you know your heart isn’t complete…that a peart of you is out there waiting for you. Do they ache for us? How long have they been waiting? Who are they? When will we meet? Sometimes the thoughts plague me with sadness, I don’t want to miss another holiday or birthday. I don’t want another day of happiness missed with them, and I always think about the 4 siblings they have here and how much they are missing out on together. And in those moments I KNOW that I have to find (him/her). That I cannot give up.

I have two amazing adopted sisters (who made me a big sister). I think about them as I have these feelings (especially on days when the feelings become overbearing). And I think about them before me…before us…before forever. I think about days I wasn’t there, or the days my mother didn’t hold them, scary days for them, lonely days for them, happy days. I think about their laugh. I think about them before I knew them and before they knew me. I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

I have wrote a letter to our child, out there somewhere. I want them to know that I love them whole heartedly now, (it won’t make sense to some, but yes, I love them…I miss them). And that they are wanted. They are needed.

 

Dear Child,

I often catch myself wondering who you are or where you are. I wonder if you wonder about me (us). I am sad on days I think about you without us, missing out on things I know you would probably enjoy. I think about you facing anything without us…and I am sorry I am not there. My heart aches not know who you are or where you are, but one thing is for certain, I know you are out there, I can feel it. As sure as I know God is real, I know you are too.

Do you know you are needed? We feel you, we know you are there, and we know you belong here. I know I may not have had the privilege of carrying you in my womb, connecting with you while you were forming, feeling you kick, getting heartburn or preparing for your birth…I missed that. I know those things are something we will never have, but that would never lessen our bond or our love for you. I can feel it, I know it exists, and no matter how you get to us, know you are needed here, YOU belong here.

Do you know you are wanted? We have wanted you from the beginning and the fact that I do not know who you are, doesn’t change the fact that we love you. We love you right now, no matter where you are, or what you are doing. We love you…we can feel it and the feeling is only growing. We want you to know that we love you for you…and cannot wait to show you that forever isn’t long enough to love you. You are loved as part of this family. You are wanted as part of this family…and you are part of this family. No matter where you are, you are and will be a part of us. We know this as truth and feel it every day growing inside of us.

I don’t know your background, I don’t know your pain, or your triumphs. I don’t know what you have gone through or the loss you feel at times. I feel heartbroken thinking about any (and all) of this. I am sorry. I will find a way to make it up to you, we will always be here for you. We will forever be your family, and always stand by you. We will be your safety, we will guide you, we will support you, love you, and help you make good decisions. We will parent you as if I carried you in my womb, because in the end, how you got to this earth doesn’t matter.

I find myself praying for you. I pray for your strength, comfort, safety. I pray you know how special, loved, needed and wanted you are. I pray to find you. I pray that you never go through more than you can handle. I pray that you will one day know me. I pray for peace and guidance. I pray for strength and peace for myself (and my family).

I wonder who you are, where you are and how you are doing. I wonder if you are wondering these things about us. Do you feel we exist among the universe? Do you feel that gravity pull or connection out there somewhere? Do you wish for us? Are you okay? Do you wonder who we are or what we look like? Do you wonder what we like to do as a family? I wonder how old you are and how old you will be when we find you. I wonder where you are and what you are doing this very moment…and it saddens me that I do not know this. Do you need me (us)?

My heart aches thinking about missing your birthday, or you missing your (new) siblings’ birthdays. I think about the holidays and it seems almost unbearable having another one without you. I think of the days, hours going by. Milestones I miss. Milestones we miss. I wonder if you feel like we feel, do you long for the day we finally meet? Are you scared of that day?

I have to admit, I am scared. Will I find you in time? will you like us? Will we be all that you ever thought we would be? Are we enough? I am scared to fail, or scared you won’t think I am a good enough mother. Scared you won’t trust me. Scared you think I missed out on too much of your life. Most of all I am scared of never finding you.

I will promise you I may not be the best mother in the world…I have many flaws; I am quirky, funny, loving, strong, stubborn and some call me a little intimidating. I am loud. I am happy, goofy and proud. I love being a mother, and I want to be your mother. I may not be the best but I will always try my best. I do not give up, and I will never give up on you. I will work every day to help you, teach you and watch you grow into the amazing human being God intended you to be. You are worthy, amazing and full of so much potential. You are a gift. You are special. You are precious. I am telling you all the things I tell my children I have now, because I want you to know I think of you even now.

You have amazing siblings here who are pretty cool. They are strong and fearless. They love to love, they love to have fun. They love learning, love animals, love outdoors. They love each other, they love you. They will make every day an adventure, they always do.

You have an amazing dad just waiting. He is funny, smart, loyal and gentle. He is a great provider. He leads us with his heart, and often wears his heart on his sleeve. He is quick to forgive, quick to love and quick to say he is sorry. He is kind, loving and fun to be around. He is full of energy and life and loves his family with his entire being. He is a great protector.

We cannot wait until we find you and start our journey with you. We know there will be ups and downs, challenges and triumphs. We know the transition won’t be easy for you, but will be there for you no matter what. Whatever challenges lie ahead, know that we are waiting for you, even if it means waiting forever.

Love,

Your forever Mom

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learn to live, not exist

It has been a long time since I have updated my blog. Life is life and I find myself lost in change; from a new home (yay!), to a new way of life (without Elvis watching his girl, fully retired), to half my children homeschooling and the other half in public school. Life has swallowed us up and taken us by storm, only for us to land on our feet.

This week was Kinzie’s diaversary. (The day she was diagnosed, back in 2010). We didn’t celebrate really, we acknowledged it, had an ice cream cone and stated a few facts about this life compared to our old life (before T1D). You know what, it was obvious…we have become stronger, resilient, closer, and are thriving. We are okay! We aren’t existing; we are living…and make that choice every single day. Our theory is if we let the scary parts of this disease drive us, and make decisions based only on the scary aspects we would only succeed in ‘existing’ in this life. Focus on ability not disability, focus on can, not cannots. In life every person has something that changes their path they are on, something that throws them for a loop…and how you respond and choose to confront those things will determine the path ahead of you. Choose wisely and do not limit the possibilities ahead, embrace the challenges.

One thing I always tell my kids when they have sour, nasty attitudes is “You can choose to be miserable, or choose to be happy. Attitudes are ultimately a choice; attitudes are everything, no matter what you face. So tell me what is so bad you would choose misery? Even on bad days we can choose our attitudes and change the way we tackle the day. “ My ‘speech’ is often met (when they are grumpy) with a frown, roll of the eyes and at times under their breath they finish my sentences. But the fact of the matter is…We CAN choose happiness. We can choose to tackle any issue with a better attitude, and when we do this, our issues don’t seem near as impossible! Live as if life is the best it can be and that nothing can stand in your way. As a parent of a child with Type 1 (or whatever you face), it is your responsibility not to let Type 1 ever be an excuse, or the reason they can’t or don’t…do not let it limit your child, do not let them think that they are ever limited, or that some things they just cannot do because they have a ‘disability’. Change that into what they can do (anything) because of their ability and help them form a plan to do ANYTHING safely! Teach them to push through lows and treat accordingly, and push through the highs and listen to their body. Teach them how to manage their disease so they can be healthy and in control. Teach them how to monitor themselves during activity, so that even when it is a rough day, they aren’t sitting out feeling sorry for themselves. Teach them how to be team players, dependable. Teach them commitment and set that standard high. Don’t treat them different than their siblings, hold them accountable for their actions (even during a fit from a severe low or insane high…they are still human, they are still accountable…and it is vital they learn how to manage the ups and downs and not use it as an excuse.) Help them navigate in this new territory, but don’t ever give them special privileges or excuses…treat them like you would treat them before type 1.

In doing this I can tell you we have found happiness, success, light even in the darkest of times. We choose to love the moments instead of hate them. For example, at high school dance camp, I witnessed her dancing (and going low several times) from 7 in the morning until 10 at night, pushing her body physically harder than she ever has. Listening to her body more than she ever has before. You know what? She never sat down, she never used it as an excuse…she learned to use her dexcom to look at patterns to prevent and react beforehand. She would continue her dance session with a juice hanging from her mouth as she danced preventing or treating a low. You would catch her tossing down food/protein while doing a pirouette or learning a new 8-count to a dance…without stopping. Without feeling sorry for herself. Without asking “why me?” Without getting frustrated or shutting down. She did it all, just as her peers did (despite the fact that she didn’t sleep several nights due to lows from the intense days). She continued just as her peers did. Why? Because it was a choice. Instead of being frustrated when feeling ‘off’ or tired she has learned that everyone has something they are fighting, and everyone is accountable for their actions and how they face them. She has witnessed the truth of ‘attitude is everything’ and does anything despite diabetes. She has learned that ‘no’ isn’t in our vocabulary and she has chosen to live and not exist. This can be applied to several aspects of anyone’s life. It isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do, and we often need to refocus and remind ourselves that true happiness is often in our control. We do have days that are rougher than others, and some challenges that slow us down. It will always be a work in progress…but it is so important to look at your diagnosis as if it were just a challenge…not a death sentence. Choose to live. Do the best you can do daily in caring for your child (or self), but don’t forget this scary as hell disease is a liveable disease…even on the darkest days. We have been through hell and back since diagnosis…lived through our worst nightmares and bounced back. We take every safety precaution, we manage her disease with velvet gloves and take it seriously. We continue to learn, we always change for her needs. We listen to her body, we educate, advocate, we pray, we still cry, but most of all we live, we live with happy hearts and celebrate the good times, and celebrate the bad times (because we made it through them).

If you act like this disease gives you limits, your child will always live with self set limits. If you live like this disease is a curse, your life will feel cursed. If you let your child pull the ‘D’ card because they are (low or high), that trend will continue and a sense of accountability will never be fully accepted or owned. Just a few thoughts living and surviving after diagnosis and watching so many people get hung up on the process of grieving (because we do grieve after diagnosis). So, if you are new to this, it does get better. It doesn’t go away, but you can always work through this daunting task with a happy heart and more determination than you could ever imagine. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and life is possible after diagnosis, you learn to adapt for everything. You learn about being flexible and always having a back up plan. You learn to push through even when you really want to have a complete meltdown. You live. You learn. You grow. You change. You progress. And progress is progress no matter how small. So take it moment by moment or day by day, whatever it is you need…and make daily decisions and ultimately set you up for success by choosing to live and not be chained to misery. Sometimes you need someone (for me, it was myself) allowing you to grieve and then just let it go.