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Adaptation vs. Adoption

Adaptation vs. Adoption

I like to refer to it as adaptation. Adoption is a legal matter. Adaptation is the process…..

My son was three when his mother failed to do the parenting classes, rehab, and move to a support home which the courts ordered her to. She was a thief, prostitute, and addict. After  a bad trip at the local gas station my little man and his half sister were removed from her custody permanently. My son was put in foster care because his extended family didn’t want him. Months later his grandmother asked for guardianship and was made his foster parent with intent to adopt. A few months later she changed her mind.

His grandmother Lela, was my father’s half sister. When my mother told her we wanted to adopt she literally brought him to us before contacting his social worker. He stayed three days with us before we got things straightened out and began the legal process. It was exciting, terrifying, and ever so fast! My son turned 4 just days after being placed with us. He had a lot of memories and grief attached to his short life.

As the months rolled on, I learned more and more about his scary, neglected, traumatic life before us. I got angry at everyone who didn’t do better by him early on… a terrible mother, a dad that walked out on him on his third day into this word, aunts, uncles, and grandma Lela who couldn’t find room for him. It was them I would curse every time he had a real problem, how do you blame a child of 4 or 5 for the repeat of sins done on them …. I came to realize it was an unhealthy attitude and gained nothing for any one. I never spoke badly or negative in any way of those few people he had called family, but at that point I realized I had to build them up for his sake. I have found my son’s father, mother, sister, and one of three brothers ( no two children have the same parents–three mothers, three fathers between them) through Facebook. When my son is older he will have the option to reach out to them.

Meanwhile, he is a drug baby. He does have significant memory, comprehension, and reasoning trouble. He is also a child of neglect and trauma. He has been labeled with ODD, RAD, PTSD, and it has been suggested that he is a ‘borderline sociopath’. He also has had every opportunity to overcome and learn to work with or around his roadblocks because we were more able and interested in providing for him. That has meant a lot of counseling, therapy, classroom intervention, special education, private tutoring, buckets of tears, and tons and tons of patience.

I respect my son’s roots and thank God everyday that I was able to provide better soil for them. He is growing to be a man of virtue and compassion, ruled by his own strong sense of self. If you haven’t had a kid like him in your life you can’t know how far he’s come just to gain a little compassion.Yes, we told him what we hoped from him but I promise you this, you cant make a child be someone they aren’t equipped or willing to be. In the life he was born to I doubt he would have been encouraged to dig out his potential, to build something from it, to rise up and be proud of himself. I hate to think he would have become a participant of the drugged, violent, unpredictable life he was born to, so instead I think of his boundless opportunities, his future wife, how much like his dad– my husband, he will be…and what he is right this very moment.

My son is by the way, the only of my four kids that isn’t biological. Does that make him stand out? Make him different? Yes. He is the only one that can say he was chosen, the girls were mere accidents.


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Adult Tonsillectomy

At My Age?

I’m forty three years old and tomorrow my tonsils are coming out. Tonight I am sitting here at the computer eating gluten free chocolate and butterscotch chip cookie dough I had hidden in the freezer. I’d like to reassure you that it doesn’t have raw egg in it but…. it does and I don’t care. Still I was contemplating whether or not this is the best choice for my last meal but I have more pressing worries, like imagining all the possible household drama probabilities while I am laid up.

Thanks by the way, to the random woman at the meat counter who struck up conversation about my massive chicken purchase, and ended with, “tell your family you aren’t going to be able to do anything for at least three weeks! Really! I was only in my twenties when mine came out and I was in bed for WEEKS!” Way to inspire courage lady…

At 6AM I have to be at the hospital nearly an hour away. Yay for being first on the chopping block I guess. I am counting down the last hour before I have to quit eating. Of course after preparing casseroles made of chicken all day I was not hungry at dinner time. Now dinner is gone and I feel like I should have planned a little better… maybe hidden a lobster tail in the freezer with my cookie dough. I mean, it’s apple sauce and canned fruit for the next five days. Warm broth isn’t even allowed until the “clots set”.

I live for food. I have forty three minutes before I begin to starve…. Wish me well.


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CALCULATING LIFE part 2 True Color

CALCULATING LIFE part 2 True Color

In the beginning

Random, predestined moments of love, glory, discovery, and evolution. Dark fate. That thing I don’t believe in. The thing that we blame when dark shadows fill our heart and black holes pull at our soul. A black bead in our rainbow of fortune.

Cascades of color after a few dark clouds befell us all through our romance… and boy, what a romance. We have a cute story I will share another time….maybe for a valentine day or my as my anniversary comes around. Stay tuned, it’s worth a read. Today I am writing about the heavy stuff.

We had a dark first year. Three months after we were married I had a bad pap smear. Tests revealed precancerous cells on my cervix and had to have a minor procedure in which a major part of my cervix was removed. Little did I know I was 5 days pregnant. It was a tough pregnancy, fraught with random bleeding, horrific morning sickness which lead to malnourishment, dehydration to the tune of IV fluids on several occasions, and 2 stays in the hospital for preterm labor.

It was dark and lonely. My new groom was not mature enough to handle the constant worry, Let’s face it….I complained a LOT. Eventually I was put on bed rest. My doctor was clear– if we wanted this baby, I would to go to bed and wake ALONE (wink, wink). Not the best start of the honeymoon phase of our marriage. It was dark and lonely but in the end we had a beautiful baby girl born full term.

A year and half  later

Our first Black bead was when I was 23. At six months pregnant we lost our baby girl. The grief 19 years later is still a confused voice of denial in the back of my head. It was the inevitable treason of my body. No matter how my heart bled or my soul screamed in denial, my body kept to it’s rhythm, simply, steadily, and with determination medicine could not stop. She was born too early. It was a black pearl, rare with beauty in it’s depth and darkness. People called it a miscarriage.  Google searches will tell you that’s the word for loss of a pregnancy between 1 and 20 weeks. What do you call it at 26 weeks, 4 days? I’m not sure but I promise it is more than a pregnancy. http://www.marchofdimes.org/complications/miscarriage.aspx

Moving through the baby years

When I became pregnant 8 months later I was panicked. I had so much grief I couldn’t yet breathe. Miranda was destined. My third pregnancy, my third daughter. Fear was so overwhelming that I was gifted a great faith. That is another story… and a very precious bead in my life’s necklace. By the time my fourth daughter was conceived two years later I had my faith and an incredible doctor. It was my most powerful and colorful time of life. While I was done being pregnant I wasn’t quite done being a new mom.


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CALCULATING LIFE part 1-How does it add up?

My life seems like a thousand moments strung together at random. I’m sure I am not alone in that, yet sometimes I feel SO alone. We have those sparkling moments we hang our identity on. The time you were the hero, the saint, the creator, the risk taker, and the final word—those are often our triumphant moments. We string those with the darker times when we were over looked, under valued, beaten to the punch, when good intentions go bad, and when taking the risk ends in uncharitable failure. Like beads on a necklace we hope to sparkle and be colorful along the way.

Randomness. It’s such a fad word right now. Random? We make so many choices changing our path and circumstance that it is hard to tell what’s random from what is inevitable. And Fate? Fate is a belief….I think. Maybe it is a religion or a scape goat. Anyway you think of it, I am not a believer and I don’t like excuses so… I don’t put much thought into fate. Destiny on the other hand is printed boldly on the cover of my biography ( I mean if I had one).

As a kid you start dreaming of your future. Wonder how fate may intervene. Who hasn’t asked, “What is my destiny?!?” You bring a calculus level of factoring into the equation. You tally your strengths and talents against your disadvantaged economic status, remember to multiply by your drive and determination, divide by the fraction of contacts you have, apply your dreams and doubt and sum up your chances. Use an abacus, hope for lots of sparkly beads on your side of the equation. Most of us end up knowing in our core we are going to have— and do— something…..something…..well , something really amazing. Somewhere in your 20’s you realize you don’t have the drive you calculated and you forgot to account for the people in your life you would be tied to.


If you are lucky life will have brought you someone to help you build your future. This is were Destiny shows up like a showgirl in a sequin gown, and you gotta pray she is more Broadway, less Vegas. Like a Tony award winning show, our love story has been running for 24 years. Scott will tell you we were written in the stars. I don’t know about that but I know he was written in my heart long before I met him. My husband is a foundation all by himself. It was so easy for me to build my life on him. In truth, he is impulsive, decisive, and has immeasurable drive, which brings a lot of excitement and randomness to our lives.

I am more chaotic than random but it has brought surprise and personality to our story. Our love story is a little like a Mardi Gras party…lots of sparkly beads…and some nudity…but mostly a lot of fun, excitement, and excess. We have always had excess. Life has brought us so much in the way of love, opportunity, adventure, and even loss.

The thing is to take it all in stride. Random, predestined moments of love, glory, discovery, and evolution. Dark fate…that thing I don’t believe in. The thing that we blame when dark shadows fill our heart and black holes pull at our soul. It’s a black bead in our rainbow of fortune.


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figure it out or die trying

figure it out or die trying

Oppositional Defiance Disorder- ODD

I have posted a few times about Little-Man or obscurely about ODD. Sometimes I kind of feel bad about it because I know I am airing our ‘dirty laundry’. I’m at the point however, where I need friends, family, and even strangers to know our truth. We have challenges, pretty much daily. I post without shame about our teen age girls because they are doing normal teenage things. Well, Little-Man is doing normal ODD things.

I need as much support from my community for his issues as I need for Ju’s choice to hardly ever come home for dinner or hang out with the family which makes us feel suddenly incomplete, or Panda’s hard headed obstinate way of just being 16, or even Ty’s Hollywood approved level of high school drama. My kids are growing up going through something of their own that is not in fact unique, it is just our first time through it. I have decided Little-Man is not any different and I shouldn’t be ashamed of his ‘condition’ or the battles we have. They are normal for him. They are normal for a kid with ODD. He didn’t choose this. We didn’t cause it. We have no more control over it than we have control of PMS and puberty.

Sometimes I need the support of friends and family to take me down a notch, to remind me that I am a freakin bad-ass Saint of a mom who can handle this. So I can be reminded that I have had 10+ years of mental health training with these kids. So I can breathe deep, take a look in the bottom of my bag of tricks, and pull out some piece of magic.

I also figured I may not be alone in trying to show my son’s best side and privately dealing with the foo. SO—if you recognize these acronyms lean on me when it gets tough because I know exactly how hard it can be. ADHD, PSTD, ODD, RAD, CD, and of course the more common and widespread PMS!

I found another blog read really enjoyable. If you have questions or need support visit the link below.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD): Jackson’s Story of Hope


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Inspiring Camp

Many of you don’t know yet that I have two daughters with Celiac sprue, some of you simply know they have a restricted diet. No one living with a ‘normal’ diet can fully appreciate what it means to a child to be on this diet. It means carrying a small ice chest to have a sleep over, short playdates to avoid meal time and/or explaining how you are different, standing back saying, “No thanks, I really don’t want one” while everyone else eats a cupcake or cookie in class, bringing a lunch to school EVERY day- even in high school, going hungry because there isn’t anything on the menu or in the cupboard. It also means checking with the pharmacist before you can take the antibiotic that you need to start ASAP, reading the label on everything you ever eat, every time you eat it because recipes on commercial food change. It means more days out of school because you slipped up and got sick from something you ate. It means a significantly higher likelihood of secondary autoimmune disorder/disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid dysfunction and diabetes to name a few. Life offers kids enough challenges without making them feel segregated by illness or physical differences. I try to point out children who have to change every aspect of their life due to serious disability so that my girls will appreciate the freedoms and normalcy that Celiac Sprue has left them. Still there have been some really hard times in their lives and a lot of tears shed. I hope that you will help to support a really important non profit group which helps kids like mine find their place among their peers. The Taylor Family Foundation’s provides a camp experience tailored to the individual needs for children in Northern California living with life-threatening and/or chronic illnesses, and developmental disabilities.
I was able to send my daughters to camp this past summer for a week without having to think even once about food or social issues. This camp also provides to children with HIV/AIDS, Diabetes, preschool burn survivors, severe asthmatics, Hemophiliacs and many more. I am hoping my friends will make a donation or pass the information on to those who can donate or may have a child in mind who would benefit like mine. By the way it only cost me $25 dollars for each girl. Sponsors make it possible for any child , rich or poor, to afford to go to camp.
To donate follow this link http://www.ttff.org/ways-to-help.html
Here’s a little about the upcoming “celiac session” cut and paste from the camp web page.
ttff
Celiac Camp in California!
At 138 acre Camp Arroyo for its fifth year, Camp Celiac’s campers, counselors, and volunteers eat delicious gluten-free food and do camp activities such as a ropes course, rock climbing, zip line, boating, swimming, and outdoor sports. Three meals a day without having to ask if any of the foods are gluten-free is life-changing for many campers and staff! Please consider a donation to The Taylor Family Foundation and to Camp Celiac! Donations to Camp Celiac cover many items specifically for Camp Celiac, such as crafts, medical supplies, DJ, additional activities, our camp program’s general and medical insurance, etc. Donations to The Taylor Family Foundation cover the substantial food, maintenance, and activity costs for all of the camps at Camp Arroyo (www.ttff.org).  Camp Celiac Donations can be made on this web site or by check.
Musician, filmmaker, and humanitarian, Michael Franti, will be performing at The Taylor Family Foundation’s (TTFF) 27th annual Day in the Park auction fundraiser Sunday, August 27th at Camp Arroyo.
Join TTFF in celebration at its annual Day in the Park auction scheduled for Sunday, August 27th at Camp Arroyo in Livermore. Proceeds from the auction support The Taylor Family Foundation’s mission to preserve the wellness and enhance the quality of life for children in Northern California living with life-threatening and chronic illnesses, developmental disabilities and youth at-risk through unique therapeutic experiences and support. The event will include noted celebrities, including local news personalities ABC7/KGO TV’s Cheryl Jennings and Mike Nicco. Doug McConnell will be on hand along with radio personalities Jim Hampton from KKIQ/KKDV, Sue Hall of 96.5 KOIT and the Entercom San Francisco Radio Stations and KCBS Food & Wine Editor, Narsai David.
This year’s auction fundraiser includes gourmet food and wine from some of the Bay Area’s top restaurants and the finest Northern Californian wineries. Priceless and rare live auction items include private chef dinners and sports packages, private air accommodations to red carpet events, luxurious vacations and other glamorous packages.
Individual tickets are $200 and tables of 10 are $2,500 for General, $3,000 for Preferred, and $3,500 for VIP.


Adaptation vs. Adoption

I like to refer to it as adaptation. Adoption is a legal matter. Adaptation is the...
article post

Adult Tonsillectomy

At My Age? I’m forty three years old and tomorrow my tonsils are coming out....
article post

CALCULATING LIFE part 2 True Color

In the beginning Random, predestined moments of love, glory, discovery, and evolution....
article post

CALCULATING LIFE part 1-How does it add up?

My life seems like a thousand moments strung together at random. I’m sure I am not alone...
article post

figure it out or die trying

Oppositional Defiance Disorder- ODD I have posted a few times about Little-Man or...
article post

Inspiring Camp

Many of you don’t know yet that I have two daughters with Celiac sprue, some of you...
article post