You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find- you get what you need.

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                                                Reflection is a beautiful thing.

Little one, I’m going to admit something that I’m sure you’ll hold against me in the future. Your Mom is kind of a brat. 

Yep. That’s right. I said it. I am kind of a brat. 

In talking to your Dad tonight, I came to a realization… I like to get what I want- and so far, I’ve been pretty good at it getting what I want. 

When I see a job I’m really interested in, I apply. If I get to the next step, I usually get the job (unless it’s President of the United States..haven’t quite landed that one yet). I study the company, look for things they value in the employees. I research and research until I feel I have it down. I practice my interview skills in front of a mirror, the dogs, Rick- anything and anyone I can. I go shopping for a new suit that screams whatever I need it to scream, “rockstar professional” or “laid back creative type that will still show up on time”. I show up early for the interview, crisp copies of my resume on expensive resume paper in an envelope with the company’s logo sealing the outside. I shake the hand firmly of the person interviewing me, I look them directly in the eye and appear extremely interested in the position even if what is running through my head is actually my grocery list or my ongoing mental checklist of all the movies I’ve ever seen (I do this when I get nervous sometimes…it’s less noticeable than sweaty palms in situations such as these). I smile, I nod. I ask questions when it’s my turn in order to prove I was paying attention and I have ambition. I ask about follow up communication. I leave, and usually within a few days time I get a call with an exciting HR person on the other end offering me the position using pithy HR talk like “bring you onboard” and “can’t wait to have you on the team” like the real position is playing shortstop on a Navy ship. 

But of course, that is not always the drill- there have been foibles (like the time I accidentally sat and waited in the wrong building for over an hour and missed my interview when I was fresh out of college), and sometimes when I really really wanted a job, I missed the opportunity. But it was always for good reason…sometimes, a short time later I would get a better job that suited me more than I could have ever dreamed.

 But generally speaking I try hard, work hard, earn hard.

When I was dating, I would go on one date with a guy and know whether or not I wanted to continue within the first hour. I would put on my best dress and spend hours battling my overly thick frizzy hair against Maryland humidity using a straightener or curling iron as my weapon of choice. I’d make sure I asked questions about them and focus on their wants in a relationship while keeping it light. If I wanted the guy, in most cases it worked out (for a while, at least…until I met your Dad and learned what knee-shaking, soul awakening love is really like). 

But I’m frustrated because I can’t do this to get what I want in this situation- which is you. I am trying my hardest. Every single day, twelve months into this process, I am researching situations, agencies, lawyers, consultants. I am calling them and giving them my best interview voice. I am constantly re doing our profile, thoughts running through my head that  maybe it was too serious, maybe it was too humorous, maybe I focused too much on family, maybe I didn’t focus on family enough. 

I can’t know within an hour if a situation is right. I can’t know if I can just get in for an interview, I’ll land it. It just doesn’t work like that.

There is no control, and for a control freak such as myself, it’s arduous. 

I can look at this two ways: 

1. This sucks. I have no control. I want control. Why can’t I just have control? I’m going to get depressed and drown my feelings of self doubt and lack of control over life in mindless TV and junk food. I’m going to sit back and wait for the right situation to come to me. I hate rejection, and every time we see the numbers creeping slowly up on our profile views and each time we submit for a situation where a family gets chosen or we talk to an expecting Mom who suddenly disappears is another painful experience, a reminder of the rejection that stings so badly. Every day is harder and harder. 

2. This is a new adventure. How beautiful is it to have things in life that can still surprise us? How many of us are lucky enough to have the chance to have something new to look forward to every single day. In a world controlled by planners and iPad calendar apps and dinging phone reminders- we are in a situation right now where all of that doesn’t matter, because life is in fates beautiful hands and all knowing timing. I am going to work hard, never give up, keep on going. I am going to look at this from every angle and figure out a way I can network more, work harder, work smarter. I am going to be a mother, come hell or high water. I am going to make sure the baby or babies that were meant to find us do. Each time we feel rejection will be motivation to keep going. Each time we talk to someone that doesn’t return our communication was for a reason- maybe we helped that woman with her decision in some way shape or form. Time isn’t being wasted because we’re working towards a goal, and that time would have passed regardless of our efforts. We’re planting the seeds that will bring in the flowers down the road. We don’t know the whens wheres and whats, but that is what makes this journey so unique and beautiful and amazing. 

 

 

Guess which way I’m going to look at it? 

 

Answer key: If you guessed 2, you’d be right. 

 

Positive thinking always, Lo. It makes a world of difference. And you can’t always get what you want. I didn’t always get the job or the guy I wanted in the moment… But you know what? If you just keep working, keep trying, keep staying positive- you just might find you get what you need. And maybe what you needed was something you never even saw in that moment… a different job you didn’t know about yet, or the person that you’re meant to be soulmates with and marry. Life can be funny that way. 

 

I know that we need you and you need us. And we’re going to keep on trying until we get what we all need. 

 

And remember: as your Mom- I want you to always choose the second option in life. Positive thinking leads to positive results. Always keep your beautiful head up sweet baby. 

 

With love and determination forever,

Mom 

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A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.

Little One, we must learn from others. Others experiences, others journeys- they will teach us more than any textbook in this world.

So when the opportunity arose to participate in an interview project with fellow adoption bloggers, I jumped at the chance. I never knew I would be so lucky as to be paired with Lori Lavender Luz from Write Mind, Open Heart. Lori is a  soon to be published author (check out her book debuting in March 2013 and preorder here),  a mother through adoption and an open adoption advocate. She knows far more than I do about the open adoption journey, and I learned so much from my interview with her.

Please read the following interview with Lori, and learn as much as I did about this amazing beacon in the adoption community:

STBH: What motivates you to write? Have you ever faced writers block, and if so, how have you overcame it?

Lori: I’ve always been a wonderer. I’ve always liked to see the same thing from different angles to understand it better. I find, when I’m writing a post, that in trying to be clear with my reader, I’m also finding clarity for myself. This is why some consider writing as therapy — it requires focus to take an idea or issue or emotion and reduce it to words. It’s the yoga equivalent of finding my core, of honing inward. Writing is introspective and causes me to be more honest with myself, with my motivations. I also like to write because it makes me more observant, more present as I move through my day.
As for writer’s block, I do get it every once in awhile. Sometimes I just take a short break from my blog (usually not more than a week). Sometimes I just sit down with a blank page and commit to be there for an hour. If it flows, great. If not, so what. Guess what…? Usually it flows when I commit to showing up.
STBH: If there were one misconception you could clear up about open adoption, what would it be?
That open adoption is super-hard, that only exceptional people can “do” it. True, parenting in open adoption can be more complicated than parenting in a biologically-built family, but with complexity often come unexpected gifts that you don’t get from simplicity.
Know what’s hard? Relationships! In them we don’t always feel we have the power we want. We don’t always know how to get our needs met. We fear someone else being a “wild card” that makes things be beyond our control.This isn’t unique to open adoption relationships, though the feelings may be heightened in OA because of strong swirling emotions — guilt, fear, debt, regret, anger, sadness, envy.

May I address two misconceptions? The other is that love can ameliorate all possible adoption-related issues for the adopted child. Some people are probably wired to be relatively issue-less, and others not so much. Parents (biological and adoptive) don’t know which they are getting. I remember thinking that my children would come to me as blank slates whom I could fully influence with my love and guidance (and my husband’s). I forgot that they come to me with 23 pairs of other people’s chromosomes, which — surprise — pack a punch! These babies already had personalities by the time I met them as newborns — shocker!

So, because your child may have issues with identity formation as s/he grows up (and really, who doesn’t?) you might as well provide what you can to them about their birth parents. Maybe that’s contact, maybe it’s open-hearted conversations, maybe it’s just you not being threatened by their wondering and processing.
STBH: How do you feel about PAL (positive adoption language)? Do you think it affects the way your children view their family structure? 
I’m all for being mindful, for choosing one’s words deliberately. But if we’re too careful, if we tiptoe around the realities of adoption, we indicate that there is something to hide and that there is shame around adoption.For example, I don’t say to my daughter, “Crystal put you up for adoption.” It sounds so careless and impersonal, like you’re talking about a discarded toy. In reality, Crystal’s decision was anything but careless and impersonal. Instead, I would say, “Crystal couldn’t parent a baby at that time in a safe way, so she decided we would be your parents and she placed you with us.” I try to understand how the words would feel to my child.

I wrote about this topic once regarding whether it matters if I say “we adopted my son” (which indicates it’s something we did — or “my son is adopted” (which indicates it’s something he is). He seemed to pick up on this distinction, as I found out one morning at Take-Your-Parents-to-School Day. But does it really matter? Some adult adoptees have said that being adopted IS who they are. Or at least a part of who they are.

As for language affecting how our children feel about our family structure, yes, I believe it matters. The more secure and issue-less I can be about the way we became a family, the better the soil from which my emotions and words grow, and the more secure and issue-less our kids will have the opportunity to be. For then they can be left to deal with only their issues and not mine.

STBH: What has been the hardest part of your adoption journey so far?
Once we set out on the adoption journey, back in 2000, most everything seemed to fall into place relatively easily. It was the infertility process that brought me to my knees. Once I learned how to relax the grip I had on controlling my life, I was in a better position to yin-yang my way through the adoption process and now the parenting process. I was always good at the yang part — making things happen; I had to get comfortable with the yin part — letting things happen.
STBH: What do you like to do to relax?
I enjoy practicing yoga. For an hour I try to bring my awareness to the confines of my mat. It’s a practice of focusing attention, of taming the wild-child that is my mind. It yokes my mind to my body and helps me remember to be more present even off my mat. Through yoga, I’m beginning to “get” that life is a journey and not a destination and shed the “I’ll be happy whens.” It’s still a process. In yoga, everything is a process and no pose is ever perfected.I also love to read  and write and do cool things with my kids like paint pottery. My daughter, 11, plays volleyball and my son plays whatever sport it’s the season for, so Husband and I spend a lot of time cheering them from the sidelines.

STBH: Being a self proclaimed new age libertarian, how do you feel about the upcoming election? 
I wish we could break free from our two-party system. The way it is, a candidate doesn’t have to get you to vote FOR him (or her); he only has to get you to vote AGAINST the other guy (or gal). So campaigns are based on smear and fear and that makes everyone feel dirty.My family lives in a purple state (and a purple home!) and are thus bombarded with ads and robocalls and fliers that indicate only jerks, idiots and crooks want my vote. My kids have been told by the campaigns that no matter who wins, we’re all doomed — DOOMED I tell you! Husband and I have been doing some damage control surrounding these ubiquitous messages

STBH: Tell about your upcoming book on open adoption.
I was thrilled to announce that my project had a heartbeat last December and that I was going to give birth, metaphorically speaking. I spent the next several months gestating The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole with the help of a lot of midwives (and their male equivalent; midhusbands?). My daughter’s birth mom, Crystal, is a contributor to the book, as are a host of other adoptive parents, first parents, adult adoptees and adoption therapists and advocates who shared their insights, viewpoints and wisdom with me — many who are part of this Open Adoption Bloggers Interview Project!The book will be published by Rowman & Littlefield in April of 2013, and if you’d like to be notified when the book is available, you can get on the contact list. Thanks for asking 🙂

Lori Lavender Luz

Again, thank you to Lori for the amazing interview. I cannot wait to read your book when it comes out!

We can learn so much when we just open our eyes and ears to others experiences, Lo.

With my eyes and ears wide open,

Love Always,

Mom

This post is a part of the Adoption Blogger Interview Project. To read more about the project or to read other bloggers interviews, please visit the projects page . To read my interview with Lori, please visit her post.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

Little One, the quote above is from the late Steve Jobs, a fellow adoptee who undeniably changed the landscape of technology forever. How did he accomplish so much? He followed his heart with a level head.

If there is one thing I want you to learn in this world, the most important lesson that I am relearning everyday, it would be this: follow your heart, and trust your intuition. 

I’ll say it again.

Let the words sink in.

Follow your heart.

Trust your intuition.

We have been presented with a few situations where it was a tough call so far in this journey. At times, we’ve had to make really, really tough decisions.Hard things to face. We’ve had to say no to some things, some people- and it’s been incredibly difficult to make those decisions. But when something doesn’t feel right – you need to trust your intuition. And when something feels so right that no matter how much thinking you do about it, you can’t get rid of that indescribable, airy feeling of hope- trust your heart.

It’s been a lesson we’ve learned a lot recently, and it can be applied to almost everything in life. It’s tough to balance the logic of your brain and the flood of your emotions. It takes some fine tuning and finesse to be able to detect which one is leading you where at what times. But there will be two very distinct feelings you can never ignore.

The first of which is that feeling in your gut. The one that gnaws and tears at you, no matter how good you may think you feel about something. It’s the voice in the back of the theater screaming fire while you’re blissfully watching the movie play out in your head. It’s the friends advice your ears won’t let you hear. It’s that outside perspective. It’s that fight or flight feeling. It’s your intuition, your sensory point of danger. Trust it. Put your life in it. You won’t want to hear it a lot of the time. You’ll want to drown it out with positives, put a new spin on it, get your emotions involved. It’s incredibly hard to ignore, and at the same time, incredibly hard to listen to. In my life so far, my intuition has been a beacon, a lighthouse that brings me back home in the darkest of storms and roughest of seas. It’s the keeper of the logic, the neutral safe place in your head that gives you another perspective- not for any reason other than to keep you safe. It’s the cold armor of truth round your warm heart.

And then, sweet baby, there is your heart.

Trust in your heart. Follow your heart. When someone says something is impossible, trust in your heart to guide you. Your heart is not the booming voice of intuition, it’s the tiny whisper that you have to slow down to understand. It’s that little voice inside of your head that when you’re so down on life, it softly tells you to try again. It’s your soft side, the ship that will take you to the lighthouse. It’s that gnawing feeling that you need to stop thinking and make the leap in the zero hour. Sometimes it’s the illogical decision that no one understands but you. Sometimes it’s going against the grain.

Don’t follow trends, Lo. Follow your heart instead.

And they need each other, these two. Intuition needs heart, heart needs intuition. There may be times where it hurts so much to take this advice. Where it feels like the world is crashing down because you are following one or both of these feelings. But know that it’s not.

Following your heart is following hope.

We have been burned so far. A lot. But we follow our hearts. Our hearts are telling us to not give up, to keep going, that maybe we’ve already made the contact we need to make. Our hearts are telling us that this is not a matter of if, but when. That when may not be this month, next month or the following month, but when is when it’s meant to be. Our intuition guards our hearts from the people who could potentially hurt us, but lets its guard down when something is safe.

Together, trusting these two feelings will help us find you. And once you learn to trust in them (which is something we’re still learning every single day) they will help you find peace, acceptance and where you’re meant to be.

And you’re meant to be here with us, sweet baby.

With trust, love, and a gut feeling about this going right, 

Love always,

Mom

On Children

Little One, I’ve been in an odd mood lately. I’m not really sure why, but I have this weird longing to go somewhere beautiful, get lost in the woods and read poetry for hours.

Unfortunately, It’s a bit difficult to do such things when you have a job and a mortgage to pay. So instead, I keep getting lost in poetry on my breaks at work. I think maybe this weekend your Dad and I might go for a walk in nature. Whenever I feel my head getting cloudy, I take to the tall trees and infinite water. I hope you love nature too, but even if you’re an indoor person I hope you always see that there is so much beauty to be appreciated all around us.

I found this poem in my travels today, and I think it explains our view on parenting so beautifully and simply.

 

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

 

Waiting to be your stable bow,

Love,

Mom