Thursday, April 25, 2013

Remarkable Responses

Some people think I am brave for sharing my personal story and struggles on my blog. I'm sure others think I'm crazy. And I have to admit, sometimes I wonder: who am I to write a blog? Who am I to write a book? Who wants to hear what I have to say?

And then I get comments like the ones below and I remember why. These weren't public comments. They were shared with me privately in response to Confessions from an Adoptive Mother.

The messages in these comments are so beautiful, powerful, and affirming, I wanted to share them with you. (Of course, I first asked them for permission. They encouraged me to use their words as source of comfort to others.) I am not sharing these comments to toot my own horn, but rather to add to the collective understanding. I desire my blog to be a resource for people to learn, heal, and help one another. It is in this spirit that I post today. If you are affected by infertility, know that you are not alone. If you are are not personally dealing with fertility issues or adoption, the odds are great that you know at least one person who is. 

(Please note: I used XXXXX below to protect the privacy of one commenter's name and also the name of my daughter. My daughter's name is very unique, and we are not ready for her birthparents to be able to google it.)

Comment #1: I gasped as I read these words, perhaps because of the source. They are from Kathy, a woman who made the courageous choice to put her first born child up for adoption. This comment changed something inside me. They were words I needed to hear, but I didn't know it until I read them.
Kathianne, these are the most beautiful poignant words I have ever read. As a "biological" mother, all I ever wished for my first born is what you have given your daughter. And although I gave birth to her, I know in my heart and soul that the woman who raised her is her real mom. Your child is so lucky to have you for her mom.
Comment # 2: A line in the comment below, "I'll never be called Mom," has haunted me ever since I read it.
So much of what you wrote speaks directly into the depths of my heart and I can relate to the psychological pain. God's plan is really wonderful and I trust him completely but that doesn't mean I'm not occassionally deeply sad. As a stepmom, the only thing I would add is that parents take for granted the amazing gift of being called "Mom" (or "Dad"). For me, I'll never be called "Mom" and that's an ache in my heart. But I am so blessed with my stepdaughters and I take pride in being "their XXXXX" (her first name). Again, your words found a place in a part of my heart that feels pretty lonely and I thank you for that!
Please keep writing! You are truly entering the hearts of others and it is very comforting because it can be very lonely. The honesty of your thoughts and feelings are things that many of us just hold so close and don't share because people who aren't in our shoes might not understand-- so to see someone else put it out there makes me at least feel less "crazy" and alone. It also allows others to see a glimpse into our hearts. I especially like your ability to express your gratitude and JOY for your life while expressing the depth of emotion you're also feeling-- it's not all consuming pain but it is part of who you are. So I encourage you to wholeheartedly keep putting pen to paper!
Comment #3: This comment was initially shared with my sister.
Thank you for sharing this. Your sister is amazing. She's brave. She's opening up about such personal subjects, and expressing feelings that at times are impossible to put into words. Infertility and adoption have to be two of the hardest things to ever talk about-- and she does so in such a beautiful way. I could hear my own voice in my head when reading some of her thoughts. It was incredibly powerful.
She's also strong. She's making decisions and taking control of something that is incredibly hard to do. It's a bit of a juxtaposition-- she's taking control and letting go at the same time. The worst feeling when dealing with infertility is just feeling like you just have no control over your own body-- that you can't figure out why it's not doing what you think God designed it to do. That leaves you feeling damaged, helpless and pissed. The fact that she's saying enough is enough-- that she's taking control of things-- takes so much strength. She'll grieve, probably for the rest of her life. But now she's back in charge, and with that comes renewed energy and purpose.
And she's spiritual. Her words about adoption were so powerful. Adoption is a miracle. Out of all the families, that baby was destined to be yours. It's divined-- plan and simple.
Comment #4: My big brother, Paul, emailed me this last comment. I'm incredibly lucky to have him for a lifetime of wisdom and support.
Dear Sis,That was a very moving piece of prose that you just shared with the world in hopes that it may benefit at least one person out there in cyber space..... I want to let you know of a few thoughts that entered my head as I was reading your passage. "Pain is the difference between what is and what I want it to be." -Spencer Johnson. I must have read this passage at least a dozen times over the years until I finally think that I grasped its meaning. I am a slow learner. 
Another thought that came to me is that everything that happens to me each day is happening exactly as it is supposed to happen in order to teach me while I am attending this "Earth School," this time around. I don't know for certain, but I believe that you and (XXXXX) and everyone else for that matter agreed before you were born to help your soul in this lifetime in ways that you cannot conceive of at this point in time. However, you will come to understand them over time....Whether you know it or not, (XXXXX) knows it because she is only recently removed from the Source. She is at peace and living in the "now" moment. Learn from her as I learn from my children. 
I wish you well today and everyday. Allow yourself to relish in the present moment the apparently good and apparently bad. When you have learned how to do this, please share the secret with me. :) 
I love you, Kats, and I am sure that you are my kid sister for a good reason.Namaste', Paul
Dear readers, your blog comments fill my world with gratitude. Please continue to share your thoughts with me on the blog (so others can benefit from them), or privately, if that's how you roll. (I just ask that if you know my daughter's name, you kindly not post it in your comment. At some point we may feel comfortable with that, but we aren't quite there yet.)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sending Love to Boston

Boston has a special place in my heart

It's the city that brought me together with my BFF, and where we both trained to be dietitians. It's where I first hailed a cab, rode a subway, and lived completely on my own. It's where I learned to love Grey Goose dirty martinis and public transportation; where I learned to say "wicked pissa."

It's where I met my husband, where we got engaged, and where we spent the first several years of our marriage. When the Red Sox broke the 86-year-old curse and won the 2004 World Series, we lived three blocks away from the ball park.

I moved to Boston three times! Just when I thought I had escaped the long, dark New England winters, my love for the city called me back. That, and the incredible friends that I had (and still have) there.

Today, while I watched the interfaith prayer service to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, I created this to express a bit of what I was feeling. I am sending love, peace, healing, hope, and light to the people of Boston.

Boston will always be in my heart. I lived there for ten magical years. 

Maybe someday I will move back for a fourth time. I would do it in a heartbeat (as long as we could live in a warmer city during the six-month Boston winter.) 

But for now I'm stuck in Dallas. So I'll just have to send my love. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Heavy Heart

My beloved city.
My home for 10 incredible years.
I no longer live in you, but you will always live in me.
My heart aches for you today.
Patriot's Day 

Powerful Serendipity

Serendipity fills me with awe. It's a split-second in time when I can sense the order in the Universe. When all the stars are aligned and I feel that we are all connected. That everything is and always has been ok. That love is all there is.

I had a serendipitous event last week. It was so powerful, I had to share it with you, my dear readers.  

Last week I headed to a follow up appointment for my recent mouth surgeries. The first floor of the parking lot (where I always park) was completely full, so I parked on a higher level and took the stairs. In the stairwell was a mama of a newborn. She was lugging him down the stairs in his carseat, quite a few steps ahead of me. 

For some reason, I felt drawn to them. When close enough to get a peek, I noticed her baby had a double cleft lip. It was not yet repaired. I'd never seen someone without the repair. (In fact, it was only a few years ago that I first saw my newborn photo. I was moved to tears, seeing myself before my lip was sewn together. Somewhere in my kid brain, I thought my parents were embarrassed by my birth defect so they didn't have any pre-surgery photos.)

I called down the stairs and asked how old he was.

"Nine days," she replied.

He looked at me so sweetly from under his pale blue beanie. He was blissfully unaware of the long road of surgeries, dental issues, possible speech therapy, tears, and insecurity that can come from having a facial birth defect. His mama, however, had a troubled look.

"He's going to be okay," I told his mama. "I too have a cleft lip."

She stopped walking and leaned toward me to inspect my face. "Yeah," she said, "Your repair looks really good."

"It will make him a stronger person," I said, as goosebumps covered my whole body.

"Thank you, thank you for that," she said with a smile. She seemed genuinely grateful for my remarks.

And then we parted. It was a brief moment in time. One that I feel will stick with me for a long while. I even have goosebumps now, as I type this.

God put us on that stairwell at exactly the same time. I am sure of it. 

Of course, I didn't tell her that I was on my way in to see the doctor because at 38, I am still dealing with issues because of my cleft palate. Hopefully, with medical advancements in the treatment of cleft palates, his journey to healing will be much shorter than mine. 

At first I thought our paths crossed because she needed to hear that her precious baby was going to be ok. Upon further reflection, I realized I needed to see him too. I thought of that baby boy when I was at my doctor appointment and thought, Be strong for him, Kathianne. It doesn't make any sense, really, but it did give me strength. And perspective. 

This little guy is just starting on his path to healing. And after 38 years, I am (hopefully) near completion. 

Dear readers, please join me in sending out healing thoughts to this anonymous little boy.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cut and Paste Therapy

Readers, get out your glue sticks. 

It's time for some therapy.

I've written about the meditative benefits of coloring in the past, 
and making collages works just as well. 

Creating in my art journal is an important part of Operation Reclaim sPaRkLe
So after I put my daughter to bed, I grab my glue, plop down on the floor, and get busy.

These are the collages I created this week using only a glue stick, 
Anthropologie catalogs, and my church program. 

Many of you told me you need to reclaim your sparkle too.
So now it's your turn. 
Go ahead, Readers. There's no shame. Get into therapy!

Special thanks to Artsyville, for inspiring me to dig out my glue sticks and go for it.