Sleep is nonexistent.

Excuse my rambling, feelings built up at 3:30a after no sleep but I need this relief.

Some days I feel like super mom, like I was made specifically to be a mommy. Then night comes, and every night, I get so anxious about putting my daughter to sleep and I question how I’ll ever survive. Some people may laugh that off, say, “No baby sleeps, but they’re cute!” So I deny what I’m feeling and cry until baby falls asleep, usually around 6am and I have to be up shortly anyways. I ask people, “Why won’t she sleep?” And they tell me a variety of things but ultimately joke about it because they’ve been there during those sleepless nights.

I feel stupid or embarrassed for not being able to handle motherhood like I expected. People also say to that, “No one is prepared, you’re fine.” I’m denied my true feelings because everyone has been there and it’ll be over soon. At what point do you get to actually believe something is wrong with you? 

Trying to balance working, being a part time stay at home mom, with a husband who works almost 24/7 it feels like. But I’m not allowed to be frustrated and feel overwhelmed because everyone else has already been in my shoes and everyone else has advice to give you, whether it’s good or bad. 

I feel guilty for thinking the things I do. To be honest, I have said to myself that I didn’t want to do this anymore. Ellorie would be better off with another mommy. I don’t know why I can’t do this. I have had ugly thoughts about the things God has blessed me so abundantly with. And then my baby girl wakes up and smiles at me, my heart swells and sinks at the same time because of the guilt I feel for the things I thought. 

And then, everyone tells me that it’s fine to ask for rest, they reassure me that it’s ok for mommy time but I can’t seem to let go of the thought that I’m already a bad mom for the things I’ve said to myself the night before so I don’t deserve it. I feel guilty for having people babysit her because it feels selfish if I need some rest. It feels selfish that I prayed so much for this child that I can’t even take care of on my own. 

To actually submit to these feelings, to have believed these things about myself for the past few weeks but not let anyone know was dumb. I should have spoken to Adam more, I should have let someone know about my anxiety attacks at night. But I couldn’t, I was too busy trying to keep up the Super Mom persona because, like I said, I had prayed for this baby girl. 

I thought I was pretty well informed about postpartum depression, family has experienced this and they have spoken about it. I was in denial because at 7mpp, how could I just now be feeling this? 

I had a total break down one night after dealing with a child who itches and cries because it hurts and she can’t rest either. I explained everything to Adam, he called my doctor and scheduled me an appointment to talk about my issues. I am now on regular medication with some relief medication for anxiety attacks. 

I still have these anxiety attacks because I worry about how people will see me as a mom taking these pills. (Why do we as moms have to feel judged for EVERY decision we make?!?!) I had an attack tonight while my daughter has screamed her head off because we’re switching to a formula that she hates the taste of, her tummy hurts, and she still itches intensely. I feel helpless because nothing I do consoles her sometimes. 

Motherhood is so hard, it’s so wonderful but it’s so hard. Writing this is hard because I’m afraid anyone who reads this will judge me. They will say I don’t deserve my daughter. 

She’s finally asleep at 4am and I’m crying silently in my bed as Adam sleeps. He has to work in the morning and doesn’t need to be woken up so I’d rather write my feelings. I’m getting better though, I think. My parents are aware and Adam is constantly checking to make sure I rest.

If you feel like this, please don’t deny it. Don’t believe the lie Satan is telling you. Even if it’s just sleep deprivation, ask for help, talk to someone. I should have been more open with Adam rather than trying to fight my own battle every night. It’s not selfish to need mommy time. I’m still learning to deal with this but having people to support me helps. 

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it’s been a year…

…and so much has happened!214

My last blog post was on June 5th, 2015…5 days later, 5 pregnancy tests later, on June 10th, (my parent’s 26th wedding anniversary) that I was pregnant. I was ecstatic. I was in shock. I was nervous. I was doubtful. I thought for sure there was a glitch in the tests. I confirmed via ultrasound the next day that I was indeed 5 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I delivered a beautiful baby girl on February 5th, 2016. Wow, 5 seems to be a recurring theme here.

So there we were, hopeful adoptive parents taking our certification classes when God throws a kink in our plans…a beautiful, perfect kink. The kink that we’d prayed for for so long. We told our adoption class leaders, they squealed with us joyfully. We finished our classes and got certified to adopt from foster care. We still have to follow through with home studies, etc. But we will continue to pursue this calling as our daughter gets older.

Enter Ellorie James…born 2/5/16 at 7:42am, 7lbs 5oz, 20 inches long. Perfect. Beautiful. MINE. ALL MINE. I yelled that as they placed her on my chest.

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So now my blog becomes less adoption focused and more motherhood focused- although, I will still talk your head off about RFKC and the joys I’ve seen a foster child can bring lives and opportunities APAC offers. Now, this is my rant of a new mother blog. I’m an oversharer. I want to talk about my daughter 24/7. And those who know me personally, hear and see her constantly. What can I say? I may be biased, but she’s perfect.

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Ellorie turned 3 months old on May 5th. I am celebrating my first TRUE Mother’s Day this year. And I am going all out!

xoxo

 

images courtesy of Hello Baby Birth Photography

it’s been a few weeks…

Nothing new has happened, really. Met our social worker, and are almost to Week 8 of class. This coming class will be panel night where we hear different perspectives on the adoption process. There will be adoptive child and family there, a few social workers, county workers, an attorneys.

Anyways, Adam and I watched this video the other day that just had us in tears.

Isn’t that amazing? This family gave this sweet girl a MOM and a DAD and a FOREVER FAMILY. She is a big sister because of this family. I can’t wait for the day I meet our child (or children!).

xoxo

“Behavior is the language of emotion.”

My goodness, this class is so good. I know that these 10 weeks will give me an amazing feeling of preparation for parenting one day. Of course, no one is every truly ready for the full parenting experience.

“Behavior is the language of emotion.” The children that have grown up in bad situations may not know how to clearly express their needs. Their behavior is what gives us clues for what they may want or need.

Parenting a child who is up for adoption due to their past relationships with their birth family is different from parenting a child that you have birthed or adopted at birth and has grown up with a “normal” childhood in your home. These foster children have bad memories. They may not initially realize that those memories are bad because they think of that behavior as normal. We had an example tonight, son wants affection/attention from mother and the only way he can get it is if he throws a tantrum. The mother responds by hitting him repeatedly. But afterwords, the mother feels guilty, loves on the son and then buys him a candy bar. The child is conditioned to throw tantrums just to get his mother’s love even if that means he has to get hurt before he gets love. This is real life. Isn’t that hard to believe, sometimes? We, as adoptive and foster parents, have to take those bad habits and memories and create new ones. Luckily, the child is mold-able and though it takes time, it can happen.

We learned a great bit of parenting tips tonight. We will NOT be using any sort of physical punishment with our adoptive child. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with spanking, we aren’t that sort of family who is totally against it. It can help helpful if done in the right way. (I’m not getting into that discussion.) The reason we will not using any sort of physical punishment is because 1) We’re not allowed due to DHR policy & 2) More importantly, these children will not respond the right way to physical punishment. You have to have the mindset that these children didn’t grow up with healthy discipline. The birth parent or guardian may have hit them or pinched them for things they did wrong, or they may have beat the child senseless with no reason at all. If we use physical punishment like spanking with our child, it may trigger bad memories. Especially for those who were hurt for no reason at all. These children don’t know that we have good motives for our discipline so we must use communication to discipline and teach the child at the same time. We have to create a new structure and it will take time. I am telling you this because I need you to know how we will discipline our child. When I am not there, it is NOT ok for you to touch my child. We will have specific guidelines, a “contract”, with our child as to how they will be punished if they disobey us. I will go more into detail into that later. The Adoptive mom in our GPS class has a contract with each of her children and she says it has worked extremely well. She is bringing a sample contract for us to look over next week.

Our child will test our limits. Our child will put us through the worst of the worst to see if we will give up. They have had people give up on them their whole life. They are searching for a place of belonging, a place of UNCONDITIONAL love and trust. They will push us to our breaking point and if we are still there loving on them and staying consistent, they will see that. & That love and attachment between us and the child will grow. They will have a sense of safety and security to know that we will not leave them when times get tough. I’m nervous about this. (Of course, every child is different but we have been fairly warned by several leaders in our group that this is very normal.)

My husband and I come from different childhoods. We have different experiences which when we combine them, we find that we fill the strengths and meet the needs of each other. I think this is one of the most important parts before we ever become parents. I know I am not a parent yet, but I have learned so much from my parents, from my friends, and from this class.

Ok, that’s enough jabbering on for tonight.

Update!

Our paperwork looks good and there are no flags on our profiles, sooooo…..We got our assigned social worker today!! We meet her Monday night and schedule our home visits! She will start our homestudy and she has until 6 weeks after we graduate our GPS classes to submit our accepted homestudy to the state. 

One step closer!

letting it all out. 

I have so much I want to share. I’m so glad I decided to choose this outlet because I’m sure I would drive my FB friends crazy if I posted all of this to a status. This process is all so amazing and I just can’t help but share.

To my friends and family, let me just tell you…this won’t be normal for us, for you, for the child. But it will become a new normal. This won’t be the same as if your best friend for pregnant and you helped babysit their baby. Our child will be broken. We will become repairmen for our child and I will need your support. Our child may act out depending on what they have been through and I will need you to be considerate and understanding that this will take time to adjust.

These children will not immediately call us mommy and daddy (most likely) as they will need time to build trust and a relationship with us. We will become frustrated and drained. We did an activity tonight in class about children and attachment. Our social worker (SW) set up a cup with a napkin over it. This represented the child. The child has grown to wear a “shell” to protect themselves from hurt. There is another cup filled with water that represents us, the adoptive parents. The water represents the love we have to give. There are several other cups labeled “friends, family, hobbies, faith,” etc…each with a little bit of water (love/support) in it. The SW pours the water over the cup with a napkin and the water is repelled at first. The water slowly wears a hole in the napkin and some water gets into the cup. But the cup has a few cracks in the bottom and we can never completely full the cup. We pour out all of our love into this child that at first may reject us. We may run out of water (love/support) but we need to be able to count on those things listed above- the friends, faith, family, etc- to fill up back up and help us to continue to pour love into this child. Such a simple demonstration of something that will become so important and vital in our lives. 

This won’t be an easy road for us. We will hit bumps in the road. We don’t know how long or short the wait will be for our potential match for a child. We need your love to encourage us. Help us to not lose faith. Pray for us. And we will pray for you. We will pray that you understand what we are going through because these children are broken and need unconditional love. They will test our limits to see how unconditional our love really is to make sure they can eventually trust us. I’m going to be honest- I’m scared but I’m not alone. Thank goodness APAC offers so much support within their agency. 

Next week we might be meeting our assigned social worker who will conduct our personal homestudy. We will also be talking about how to manage the behaviors we may see in these children within the system. I’m told that it may become a heated discussion on discipline. 

Until the next time…which will probably be tomorrow, seeing as I’m pretty emotional right now and express myself best through writing. 

PS…I’m working on a unique hashtag for our journey…maybe #startingourstarfishstory to keep the theme but I’m willing to consider any suggestions!

the original starfish story.

In case you have never heard of the “starfish story” and what it means…

“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, 
“It made a difference for that one.”

As much as I wish I could open my home to every single child that needs a family, I can’t. But I know that if I can make a difference in just one child’s life and show them the love of Christ, then my purpose is complete. 

I encourage every one to check out Royal Family Kid’s Camp. Maybe you can’t foster or adopt right now but still want to make a difference in a child’s life, you can do so by volunteering with your local camp and make memories that will last a lifetime.