Thursday, June 16, 2011

What are your motives?

I bought a father's day card for Brit's dad today over my lunch hour.  Talk about a tough undertaking.

There just aren't cards that say "Thank you for being such a great father to my child who I chose not to parent myself." (Thank heavens there are no cards that say that, because that would be plain rude. But self depriciating humor is OK when it comes from me.)

After much searching, I finally found an awesome card which had the perfect message:

You mean the world to both of us.
We don't say it as often as we should,
but we are so thankful to have you in our lives,
and today especially you're being sent
many wishes for happiness
and a Father's Day filled with love.

It was just perfect.  So I signed my name and BF's name and a quick note wishing him the happiest of Father's Days.

As I signed the card, I found myself thinking about why I send them cards on holidays like this. 

Am I trying to win their friendship? 

Am I trying to guilt them into expanding their relationship with us? 

Am I being honest when I tell them I am thankful that they are Brit's parents?

Am I just saying one thing, but feeling and thinking another thing?

I hope that none of those are true.  But it has made me do some serious introspective thinking.

After some thought, I came to the following conclusions.

  1. I want them to be friends with us.  Not because we are Brit's birthparents, but because they like us.  We really are funny, cool people.  I promise!
  2. I really do like both of them.  I would want to be their friends even if they were not parenting our daughter.
  3. I am glad that they love Brit as much as they do.
  4. They are really good parents to Brit.  No question about it.
  5. Yes, I am trying to extend the olive branch to them by sending cards and kind emails.  I want those efforts on my part to be an example of the relationship I would like to see extended to us in return.  But if they never choose to do those things, I will still send kind cards and emails.  Because even if they don't share the same feelings, when they adopted my daughter, they became a part of my family.  Forever.  Even when things are tough.
I wish we could have a super open relationship.  But right now, it appears I am the only one who feels like our relationship is not what it could be.

So, I will send my cards and write my emails.  And even if I have to love them from a distance, just like I do Brit, I will keep at it.  Because it is all worth it in the end.  Even if it is hard.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer is tough on mommy

L pitching
I am uploading a huge artwork file to my billboard company so I have a minute to spare before I have to head out to D's baseball game.

Man is this a busy time of year for the mother of boys.

L and D both play baseball.  Lots and lots of it.  Every night we have a game or practice.  That alone is exhausting.

Both boys bowl on a league.  I shuttle them back and forth to the bowling alley on my lunch hour.

D has started football workouts and skills camp.   This is mornings and evenings.

L will start middle school basketball camps next week.

J is working at our local water park as a lifeguard. When he is not working he simply eats me out of house and home.  And oh yeah, he brought home a guinea pig last week that is 'our' new pet.  Before I went to bed last night, I was cutting matted hair from the new friend's backside.  Yes, it is a long haired critter of all things.

Work is over the top busy.  I work in the recreation field and as one would guess, summer is crazy busy season.  As I type this I have been at my desk for almost 10 hours today.

I am the director of operations for a college baseball team that plays about 50 games throughout a two month period.  Thank heavens I have a very capable intern helping this year.  Otherwise I would be certifiably crazy.

We eat meals in the car.  Sometimes meals include chips and salsa, Popsicles and Gatorade.

My house has not been vacuumed in two weeks.

I do keep up with the laundry, simply because I am constantly washing uniforms. And wet towels.  So many wet towels.

The Princess baby has to run around with us all weekend long as we go to tournaments, run errands, attend bday parties and spend time at church.

D qualified for Hershey Track and Field State Games in all 3 events he participated in.  That will take us out of town next weekend for two days. 

Just typing all of this makes me tired.

But I am off to the ball field.  In high heel sandals and dress clothes.  Running late - of course.

At least I will be able to sit in a chair and watch the game.  That will be my one hour of rest.

Monday, June 13, 2011


My youngest son had a terrible headache last night.  He was lying on the couch and I was on the computer at a table near him.

Out of the blue he looks up and says,

"Mom, can we adopt Brit back?"
I responded (trying not to cry),

"I suppose we could, but Brit's parents would have to let us.  And that would never happen."

"Because they love her so much that they would never want to let her go."

"I wish we could have her back.  It's not fair."
Conversations like those are a dagger to the heart.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Feelings are not facts

I had a counseling appointment on Saturday.  So I packed up the Princess and off we went.  I look forward to counseling so much.  My counselor, Rosie, is the best.  Our relationship started when she was my marriage counselor many, many years ago.

Then as my ex and I divorced, she just became my 'life' counselor.  She is also a Christian, which is very helpful to me because that is a big part of who I am and what I believe.

The last few sessions with her have been comprised of me bawling and her telling me that someday this will not hurt so badly, and until then, I just have to Live Through Today. (hence the blog name)

But this session took a different turn.  I still cried (given), but she had some significant insight for me.

Paraphrased here was what she said to me when I told her how I obsess about my lack of relationship with Brit and the grief and regret I battle each day.

"I was there when you struggled with your adoption decision.  It was not made in haste.  You considered the pros and cons and you made the  very best decision you could with the information you had.

I watched you develop a relationship with Brit's parents. You did everything you could to make this a good and healthy relationship for all of you.  You made a good decision.

While this isn't a therapeutic thing to say, have you ever thought that maybe this is God's plan?

How do you know that the relationship you have with them now isn't exactly what it needs to be at this moment?  It might not be what you think it should be, but how do you know it's not best for Brit, or her parents, or even you?

Maybe this is exactly how things need to be right now.  Because how things are today is not necessarily how things will be forever.

If you had a close relationship with Brit's parents, would you have been strong enough to recognize that BF was not right for you?  Or would you have felt that you had to stay together because you would never want to jeopardize your relationship with Brit and her family?

We just never know.  Think about all of the mysterious ways that God worked throughout the Bible.  Who would put a baby in a basket, float it down the river, and later be chosen to be the nursemaid to that child?  Only God could orchestrate that.

Sometimes we just have to trust that even though it doesn't make sense right now, this could be part of a much bigger plan.  What is happening now is preparing someone, maybe it's Brit, maybe it's you, but this is a piece of a bigger plan that we cannot know."
WOW.  Talk about a reality check.

She's right.  I would have never ended things with BF if he and I were an active part of Brit's life.  I would have never jeopardized a fragile relationship with them.  I would not have wanted them to sense any turmoil from our side of the relationship.

Maybe this last year without me involved in Brit's life will be important to her relationship with her parents as they now have two more children on the way (giving them 3 babies ages 1 or younger - yikes).  Maybe God knew they needed that time alone with her to create a special bond that will carry them through this tough next couple of years when they have lots of stress and little sleep.

I don't know.  My little brain can only speculate.

But it has given me new perspective and a bit of comfort.  And I sure could use a little comfort these days.

So in addition to thanking God for the clear direction about my relationship with BF, I am going to also add that He would have His hand in this adoption relationship and that my feelings don't get in the way of His plan.

As we ended my counseling session, Rosie said,

"Remember Lisa, feelings are not facts."

Hmm.  I'll have to remember that one.  Because feelings sure do seem like fact sometimes.

Friday, June 10, 2011

God answered my prayers - just not with MY answer

So the previous cryptic post was in response to the end of my relationship with Brit's BF. 

BF and I have always gotten along beautifully, mostly because he never, ever entertains any confrontation.  He won't even playfully argue with me. 

Needless to say, we never fight.

But I have always felt that he doesn't treat me as if I am that "special person" in his life.  He would forget to call me.  He makes plans without including me.  Just things that hurt my feelings.

So a couple of times in the last two years this has come to a head with me and I have confronted him about it.

What it has boiled down to, after all he and I have been through, and the time we have spent together, I want to know that he is planning on a future together with me.

The answer he has always given me is that he loves me and doesn't want to be with anyone else, but he isn't ready for that level of commitment yet.

I have gone along with this for some time now.  I just prayed that God would soften his heart and take away the obvious pain he has from his previous marriage and subsequent divorce.

But this week we had a little incident where our kids wanted to play together and rather than talk to me on the phone about it, he spoke only to his children.  It hurt my feelings because it made me feel like I am not valued enough by him that he would call me and let me be the parent on hand (I was standing there with his kids and mine - he was at work).  But instead, he just spoke to his own children who in turn relayed information to me.

So an hour or so later, he sent me an email at work stating that he did that because he wants to teach his children responsibility and he felt like it was an issue between him and his kids about sticking to a plan.

I replied to him that it hurt my feelings because I felt like he didn't value me being a part of his children's lives enough that he would allow me to work out a simple play date between our children.  I also mentioned that this simple communication issue drug up feelings of insecurity about our relationship that lay just below the surface for me.

In a nut shell, his email response back to me was that he is perfectly OK with our relationship as it stands today.  He likes the dating relationship we have.  And he has given it much thought lately and he believes he will not be ready for a more committed relationship until his youngest son is in high school. (Note: That is 7 years from now.)  He ended it with he wasn't sure where that would leave us until then.

He and I have been together for 2 years.  Had a child together.  We are both almost 40 years old.  We have seen each other at our worst (the stress of an unplanned pregnancy and subsequent adoption).

Our children seem to get along very well.  They beg to play with each other.  They share similar interests and mutual friends.

I have given all I can give.  I have loved him with my entire being.  Even when I was walking around with a wounded heart.

And his response to me is - 'maybe I will be ready to consider life with you 7 years from now'.

So I typed a quick response to his email and let him know that was all I needed to hear.  I would swing by his house, pick up the few clothes I have there and leave his house key on the counter.

I told him I appreciated his honesty.

I received no reply.  No email.  No phone call.  Nothing.  And that was Wednesday.

I cried that day.  ALOT.

I am a smart girl.  I have known in my heart that he wasn't right for me.  I have listened to everyone around me tell me he is not right for me and that I deserve so much more than he is willing to give.  I have been called a fool for hanging on.  His best friend's girlfriend told me months ago that I need to move on and find someone who can be more attentive.

BF is not capable of showing me the love, affection and attention that I would desire from a spouse.  But I wanted so badly to make us work.  I was willing to settle for feeling neglected sometimes because I love him.  And he is a really nice guy.  Not a single person would argue that.  Even those who told me I should move on, agreed that he is a nice guy.

But the more I thought about what had just transpired that day, I realized God had His hand in that email from BF.  When I read those words, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind about what needed to happen next.  Casually dating someone for 11 years is not acceptable to me.

I should be special enough to you that you can't imagine life without me.

If you are thinking about how you just want to wait 7 more years to get your kids through high school, then you are imagining life without me - and apparently you are OK with that.

I had a really good day on Thursday.  I kept focusing on Jeremiah 29:11 and the plans that God has in store for me.

That night, when I went to bed, I found myself offering prayers of thanksgiving for God showing me so clearly what needed to happen.  In the past I prayed for BF's heart to change.  But no more. 

I now have a heart of anticipation for what is next for me.  God has something in store.  I know He does.

I know that every day won't be great.  But I am glad that at least I can look forward with hope.  And that God has given me a peace in my heart to finally let go of what I have been clinging to for so long.

So now I plan to get out of the way and see what God wants for me.

Yes, I know that is what I should have been doing all along, but we control freaks have a hard time with that.

Thank you all for your prayers, kind thoughts and words.  It has been so comforting.

I will close with my favorite two quotes from the same dear friend this week.  He is like a father figure to me (he is older than my own father).  He was recently married to the love of his life.  It only took him 4 failed attempts to find her!

The first thing he said to me when I told him what had happened was,

"His loss Lisa.  He wasn't prepared for the magnificence that is you"
Then he followed up with me the next day to see if I was doing OK.  After a quick conversation he said,

"It's unbelievable to be with someone who cherishes you.  Don't settle for anything else." 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tomorrow is a new start

Today was rotten.  So I am allowing myself to cry.  But that's it.  Tomorrow is going to be a new start.  And even if I have to figure out some strategy to keep it together, I am not coming back to this pity party.

Sometimes God answers prayers and the answer is not what we wanted.  But it is an answer.

I knew in my heart what needed to happen in this specific area of my life, but I was not strong enough to make it happen.  I have fought the decision, and clung to hope that if I just held on it might just work out.

But God has bigger plans for me.  I know He does.  And just hanging on is not what He wants for me.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11
PS - This post is not directly related to my adoption story, but just a relationship issue.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Who are you LisaAnne?

I really am a multi-dimensional person.  I promise I am.

In real life, I don't talk about adoption or being a birth mom most days.  It is only here in my blog that I am THAT Lisa. 

Otherwise, I am the everyday mom of three crazy boys.  I yell at them.  I ignore them when they are driving me crazy.  I tell them I love them.  I scratch their backs and look at their ouchies.  I go to ball games (lots and lots of them).  I feed my kids dinner in the car.  I make dinner for them.  I call them to find out where they are.  I bug them. My boys hate me and love me, sometimes at the same time.

I have friends who do not have adopted children nor are they birth mothers to children being raised by another family.  I do not announce I am a birthmother to new people, not because I am ashamed, but because it is too complicated to explain.

I am a Christian, a sister, a babysitter, a friend, a daughter, a girlfriend and an employee.  I am a committee member, on the board of directors for a couple of organizations, and a children's church teacher. 

I forgive others easily.  I have attention deficit issues.  I love deeply, but I also love quickly.  I was a good student, but liked my social life even more than that.

I am happy most of the time.

I have a Diet Coke/Coke Zero addiction.  Really bad.

I love people.  The people I know today, and the people I will meet today.

I believe that most people are good.  And I believe that people try to do the right thing almost all the time.  I have been accused of being naive in this area.  That's OK, I like it like that.  It makes it easier to wake up in the morning.

But here in the blog-o-sphere, I read my posts and I realize that I come off as a pitiful, whiny, unhappy mother. 

I wanted to tell you I am more than that.  I have to remind myself that I am more than that.

But enough talking already, I need to head off to a ball game.  LanMan is in the semi-finals in a baseball tournament and I have the Princess with me so we need to pack up the baby stuff and get out the door!

Friday, June 3, 2011

This post may not be for you

This will not be a adoption triad sensitive post.  I can sense it already.  So if you are someone who reads my blog because you are friends with Brit's parents, just go ahead and stop right now.  If you are an adoptive parent who doesn't want to know about birthparent grief, this post is not for you either. 

If you feel the need to post something mean spirited toward me after you read this, please don't.  I have plenty of self-loathing to go around so I don't need anyone else to send any more hatred my way.  I have that covered all by myself.

This is going to be a pouring out of my heart that is not meant to hurt anyone, but is a vent for my anguish.  It is not meant to blame, but it may come off that way.  I am sorry in advance if it does, but this is my blog.  And my heart hurts.

I have just a few minutes until I leave for a meeting but I have something weighing so heavily on my heart, I have to type it out.

Brit's parents are having twins.  Due this summer.  A boy and a girl.

I also have a friend who has a set of twins, also boy and girl, who were born at a similar time of year.  Therefore, my friend has matching outfits that would be great for Brit's brother and sister. So, like I would do for any other friend, I went to my friend's garage sale a couple of weeks ago and bought a few matching outfits so I could give them to Brit's family for the new babies.

When I got the most recent monthly email from Brit's mom, I replied back that if they were ever out and about I had several outfits I would love to get to them for the twins.  She emailed me back and said her husband keeps saying he needs to stop by where I work so maybe the next time he is here he can pick up the clothes.  She thanked me for thinking of them and said they would definitlely be welcomed as she knows they will need so many things having twins.

So I brought the bag of the clothes to work.  I have had the bag sitting outside my office door with Brit's dad's name on it all week.

I decided today that I am going to have to move it.  It is hurting my heart to see it sit there.

I live 10 minutes from Brit and her family.  I could run it over to their house in a heartbeat.  But I can't because I am not a part of their life. 

They have friends who can stop by and see Brit.  But I can not.

Brit's neighbors know what Brit looks like and how she plays outside.  My kids do not. They are not allowed to see their biological sister.  They are not allowed a relationship with her.

When we had Christmas gifts for Brit, my BF met Brit's father at a sports bar - 5 minutes from both of our homes, so we could give the gifts to him to take home to Brit.  I wasn't even invited to be part of the exchange.

Why don't I have adoptive parents like so many of you?  I read adoptive parent's posts and articles about how they wish they lived closer to their child's birthfamily so they could get together.

I live 10 minutes from them.  10 minutes.  It might as well be 1,000 miles.

We chose these parents because we wanted our daughter to grow up in the same community as our boys, so they would have similar childhood experiences.

We wanted them to be close so we could share in her life.

Instead, I am tormented as I look down every aisle at the grocery store, hoping and praying that I could catch a glimpse of them shopping there at the same time.

I know my boundaries.  I know when I am not welcome.  I am a civilized, professional, adult mother of many children myself.  I am not going to interject myself into their lives unwelcomed.

I do not drive by their house.  I never ever call them.  I send cards on holidays, which I believe to be an appropriate time to do so.

But I want to be a part of their lives.  I want to be welcomed.

I have never received a card from them.  Not on my birthday, not on mother's day.  Not ever.

The same mother who text messaged and called me when I was pregnant has never once sent me a text or called me since the day they took my daughter home with them.  While I am very grateful for the monthly email with pictures (and I pray they never stop them), it does not replace sincere interaction.  Monthly reporting is not the same as conversation.

I shared everything with them when I was pregnant.  Pictures, stories, even the entire birth of their daughter.  I wanted them to know me, my kids and my life.  I wanted them to know that they were now a part of my family.

What I didn't realize was that everything was going to change once Brit went home with them.

I know my daughter is loved by them.  I know she is happy.  They have never once said anything unkind to me directly.

But if I would have known then what I know now, I would not have made the decision I did.

I pray that my daughter will want to know me and us.  I pray that she is just like me and she begs her parents to let her see us.  I hope she wants to talk to me as badly as I want to talk to her.

I guess that is what I have to do.  Pray that the child will change their hearts, if nothing else does.

I hate this.

So much for making it to my meeting.  My eyes are nearly swollen shut.  Looks like I'm stuck at my desk for the rest of the day.

It is amazing how one decision has changed me from the happy go lucky girl I once was, to a shell of a person just trying to keep it all together.