Monday, April 20, 2015

Best Selling Adoption Books for Children

This week I posted a status on I Am Adopted's Facebook page ranting on the fact that I couldn't understand how in 2015 adoptive parents are still keeping it a secret from their child that he or she is adopted. I also couldn't understand why parents still felt the need to wait until their child was 'older' to tell them they are adopted.

I thought we have progressed from this. I was wrong. I thought adoptive parents would have been educated by adoption agencies or other adoptive parents on the effects of keeping secrets from their adopted child about his or her adoption. I was alerted by adoptive parents that their agencies never gave them resources on this subject. Very typical of agencies. I am not surprised.

In 2015, there is no excuse an adoptive parent doesn't know HOW to tell their child he or she is adopted nor should parents be waiting to tell their child. There is a plethora of adoption books written for children, teens, and adults about being adopted. Many of these books are written by adoptees, the experts on adoption.

The best way to introduce adoption to your child is by reading books to your children. Start as early as they come home and into your lives. Read to them everyday even if they don't understand word for word what is happening in the book about their adoption story. You keep on reading that book everyday even if it takes years until your child starts asking questions. What you want is for your child to come to you comfortably and talk to you about their adoption journey instead of keeping it to themselves which could lead to future destruction to your child and family. Besides reading being fundamentally great for your child, as an adoptive parent it allows you to bond with your child and to show your adopted child that you are with them on this journey and they are not alone. They can trust you and trust that you love them and care for every part of their life including where they come from and their biological family.

I understand every family is busy and so much going on, but I cannot stress to adoptive parents how important it is that your child know his or her truth right now. So no matter what you are doing right now put it down and go find your child and let the process of their truth begin. Follow up and continue with reading adoption themed books to your child (see my list below). Adoption talk need to happen continuously. Not just one time. Talk about it as often as possible until it is a part of your lives and it sounds normal. This isn't going to change how your child will look at you because if we are going to REAL, I know many adoptive parents don't want to have this talk because they fear their child will think of them differently. Far from the truth. I respect the fact that my adoptive mother and I can sit down at any time and talk about my adoption or adoption in general. I love her so much for that. It has shown me they type of love adoption provides because she never made my adoption about her; it was all about me and she was comfortable in her skin as my 'adoptive mom' even though to me, she is my mom. This is how adoption should be.

So even if you have to, hold off on a couple lattes or happy hours and purchase a book that will help you to introduce adoption to your child's life you have no idea how much this will improve your relationship with your child in the years to come.

My favorite Best Selling Books on Adoption for Children: please click on the photo to read the synopsis of the book, read reviews, and order. 

What books have you read or do you recommend? 

If you have any questions or need further advice, please post your question in the comments 

Please share this post with your adoption community and friends 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Adoption | #ThingsAdoptiveParentsSay

When in a room filled with members from the adoption triad or adoption professionals, you always know when an adoptive parent speaks. No serious, it is so true. Every time I read through the comments on I Am Adopted's Facebook page, immediately I know which group of the adoption triad is commenting.

Adoptive parents are always the ones sticking up for the adoption industry, preaching about the orphan crisis, praising birth mothers, trying to compare an adoptees loss to another loss that that they may have experienced, invalidating adoptees, arguing with adoptees, calling adoptees names, the list goes on. 

Do adoptive parents genuinely want to hear what adoptees have to say? Some, not all. However, thankfully more and more adoptive parents are turning to groups like, I Am Adopted for guidance and delving into the adoptee experience in hopes to understand their adopted child. But what about the other 'know-it-all' adoptive parents? You know, the ones that say the absurd comments and the ones that like to spend hours debating with adoptees just to prove how necessary adoption is and how many children are being saved by two parents that aren't qualified to be parents because they are either too young, unstable, or uneducated. 

I find that adoptive parents often say the darnedest things that can be very hurtful to adoptees and they almost always makes me SMH (shake my head). It lead me to create the hashtag #ThingsAdoptiveParentsSay when I was tweeting on my Twitter. Here are some things that adoptees tweeted including myself that annoy the crap out of us about adoptive parents:

#ThingsAdoptiveParentsSay...that shouldn't be said ever again.

  1. I know what it feels like to not know my birth family; my dad walked out on us. 
  2. Adoption trauma isn't real. It is just a feeling that will pass. 
  3. My child tells me all the time how thankful he is to be adopted. He is so happy to be chosen.
  4. If you don't start acting right I am going to give you to another family #rehoming
  5. What are you talking about, my child is happy and grateful to be adopted and has never experienced any trauma. 
  6. We don't see color, all we see is love. 
  7. Why do you want to search for your birth family? Were we not enough? What did we do wrong?
  8. I chose you; you are special.
  9. Why would you want to find your birth mother? She gave you up. Obviously she didn't want you. We love you and we are your family.
  10. I saved you from those horrible conditions in your country. Why would you want to go back there?
  11. I gave you everything you could ever want....
  12. I know plenty of happy adoptees; you guys are just bitter. 
  13. God told me....
  14. Every birth mother has the right to choose whether she wants to parent. I would never judge her choice. 
  15. Not everyone deserves to be a mom. 
  16. Why would you search for your birthmom? She's probably married and has family. Can you imagine how that might disrupt her life?
  17. If your birthmother really loved you she would have never placed you for adoption.
  18. You are so angry, bitter, and ungrateful!
  19. My child doesn't need to know they are adopted. We are his family and that is all that matters. 
  20. I will tell my child he is adopted when he graduates from college this way it doesn't interrupt his life. 
  21. Why do I have to read about adoption? I have children of my own, I know how to parent. 
  22. I just spent thousands of dollars to adopt my child from _____, at this point we cannot afford to just up and move to a more diverse community. 
  23. We were 'called' to adopt.  
  24. Adoption is in the bible. It is natural.
  25. My child's birth parents were becoming disruptive and were not following our rules. We had to cut off contact #openadoption 
  26. We are your real family. We have been there for you through everything and have always taken care of you. 
  27. These children deserve to have a better life. I am blessed to give them that. 
  28. I know what it feels like to suffer loss my (insert family member or pet) passed away. 
  29. Your mother loved you so much she gave you away.
  30. We have prayed for you for so long! You have no idea. Thank you Lord. 
  31. I adopted because I didn't want to ruin my figure or go through pregnancy pains.
  32. Every year we celebrate Gotcha Day with our little one. We are so blessed to have gotten him. 
  33. You need to let go of the past.
I know I may have ruffled a few adoptive parents feathers after writing this, however, it needed to be said.  Some (not all) adoptive parents have no filter and just say anything without even thinking about adoptees or their own adopted child. This goes back to my previous post, putting your child first. I cannot stress how important it is to listen to the narratives of adoptees even if it makes adoptive parents uncomfortable. 

Some of the things I have heard adoptive parents say are just disturbing leaving me to wonder how they even passed a home study or who they paid off to pass it. Goodness. But again, adoption agencies are primarily focused on the needs of adoptive parents, not adoptees. 

While adoptive parents are celebrating their 'gain' their child can be drowning in his or her loss. Not to mention what that child's birth mother is experiencing. Please be mindful of the words you choose. Also, be mindful that while you are celebrating these Gotcha days and telling your child that they were chosen that adoptees are aware that thousands of other children weren't as 'lucky'; there is nothing to celebrate knowing other children will never have a forever home. 

Adoption is a journey, and parenting an adopted child takes patience, openness, education, understanding, and of course...UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Adoptive parents cannot ignore the fact that their child is adopted and just plan on raising their adopted child as if he or she was conceived by their adoptive parents because they don't see them any different. Adopted children are different and will always be different in some way. I don't mean 'different' in a negative way just to be clear. The point is adopted children need to be aware and told that they are adopted. They need to know what it means to be adopted, and their narratives need to be validated and honored. Adopted children will always be adopted children even if they bond with a great family. Adoptive parents must never ignore the fact that his or her adopted child has feelings about being adopted. It needs to be talked about over and over again. 

Be slow to speak and easy to listen. Be cautious of your words. Remember that adopted children have feelings about their birth parents no matter what may have been done to them in their past prior to being adopted. 

Adoptees: What are some things adoptive parents say? What would you add?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Closed Adoption is Trauma

While there are birth mothers, adoptive parents, and adoption professionals that still think that closed adoption is the best option to provide anonymity to birth mothers and parental security to adoptive parents, to many adoptees, closed adoption is trauma and abuse.

Imagine growing up not looking like any of your family members. You have no one to identify with while little Suzy is prancing around telling her friends she got her eyes from her mom and her height from her dad; meanwhile, you are left in an awkward position wondering where you got your features from. You hope and pray that no one points the finger at you as if it were your turn and asks you where you got this or that from because we all know once an adoptee utters the words, "I-I-I....I am adopted; I don't know what my mom or dad look like" it will create an awkward silence followed by an, "I am so sorry" and you begin to feel like the size of an ant. People instantly make you feel like you should be pitied because your own mother gave you away. A 2 minute harmless conversation develops into a 24 hour cycle of trauma triggering depression, severe fear, and anxiety.

These are the effects of closed adoption.

If you do not by now, adoptees are the only population on Earth that do not have access to their original birth certificate. If that doesn't trigger anything in you, look at it like this: the parents names that are written on adoptees birth certificates leads adoptees to believe that their adoptive parents are the ones that gave birth to their adopted child. That is a lie. That is fraud. How is it that the world is comfortable with feeling like they can do that to people? Before I was told I was adopted (I always had speculation I was because I look different), I remember looking at my birth certificate. I remember seeing that my adoptive mom's name was the woman's name that was on the birth certificate as my mom. It lead me to believe that my mind was playing tricks on me because I knew I looked different, but this piece of paper was telling me that I came out of my adoptive mother's womb. I was so confused. I remember as a child feeling like there is was something completely wrong about me, but I never said anything to my adoptive mom. I always kept a smile on my face and never questioned anything out of fear of hurting my adoptive mom. It was amazing at such a young age that I felt like if I asked about being adopted that I could hurt her feelings. I did not want to hurt my mom's feelings. Yet, I allowed myself to be hurt over and over again as I tried to figure out why I looked so different and why everyone else felt they had to let me know I look nothing like my family. I never let my adoptive family know any of this.

To all adoptive parents that have yet to tell your child that he or she is adopted, they probably know already. You need to tell them. And to adoptive parents that feel that your adopted child isn't struggling with being adopted because they are all smiles and never come to you about it, think again. My adoptive mom would have never had a clue EVER that I struggled with being adopted. It was a battle I fought on my own.

These are the effects of closed adoption.

Don't you dare go to the doctors office when you are having a bad day when you are an adoptee. They can make a bad day go to a level that feels like there is no way back up. Can you believe that feeling can be triggered by just one question?! Here is the question, "what is your medical history?" I don't believe there is one adoptee on the earth that doesn't stop for at least one second and think about the loss inside of them because adoptees cannot even answer one stupid little question that everyone can seem to breeze through at the doctors office. And god forbid you leave that answer blank because the minute you are called to the back, Dr. So and So is going to ask you why you left it blank. Then when you go on to explain you are adopted, the awkward silence sets in as Dr. So and So gives you a blank stare and clears his throats, and he might even be stupid enough to say, "so you don't know anything about your medical history". I remember one day leaving the doctors office when that happened to me because I was on the verge of snapping. Ever since then, I associate the doctors office with trauma. I am okay now because I have learned to deal with it, but I would be lying if I sad that not even for a second I don't feel pain when I have to answer that question at the doctors office because I am reminded that I don't know who I am.

These are the effects of closed adoption.

I remember when I was college in my apartment staring at myself in the mirror in my bathroom pulling my hair as I looked at myself and sobbing and screaming screaming at the top of my lungs, "why didn't you want me?! How could you do this to me?! How could you let them lie to me and leave no trace of you?!" I wanted to end my life in that very moment. I will never forget it. That was one of the worst "episodes" I ever experienced. Amazingly people deny the statistics that adoptees are 4x more likely to commit suicide. There I laid on the ground in a ball crying myself to sleep on the bathroom floor. No one would have known if something happened to me. No one would have suspected anything because I was such a vivacious high-spirited college cheerleader always making people smile and laugh and carrying them through their storms.

These are the effects of closed adoption.

I spent eight to ten years searching for my birth family. Not that there was anything wrong with my adoptive family if that is what you are thinking. For some reason when you tell people you want to search of your birth family the first thing that comes out of their mouth is, "well what about your adoptive family?" Listen, this has nothing to do with my adoptive family; this is about me. I need to know who I am just as you know who you are. I don't know why those that are not affected by adoption jump right into thinking about the adoptive parents before they think about the adopted child. I went to my local court house to petition my adoption records for medical purposes only to be denied. It drove me mad to think that I couldn't have access to my medical history after spending half of my life with medical issues. It wasn't enough for Florida, the state that finalized my adoption. I deserve to know if I was predisposed to any medical conditions. What is wrong with this world?

These are the effects of closed adoption.

Not having access to my adoption records has permanently left me in a state of trauma. There isn't a therapist in the world that can help me with this. God has been the best therapist for me, but there are days that it just isn't enough. There is nothing worse than having to have a reunion at a siblings bed side in ICU and months later at a grave site. If I could have just found my family just a few months earlier everything could have changed for me and for my two little brothers, but now one is in the grave after being murdered. We only had one phone call. We both told she each other how much we loved each other and couldn't wait to see each other. That day never came. He was killed. My life will never be the same.

What few people seem to realize especially birth mothers is that when you make the decision to place your child for adoption and you have other children, everyone suffers. To an adoptee, adoption isn't just about our birth mothers. It is about our brothers and sisters, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. We deserve to know them even if birth mothers don't want to be identified or found.

We deserve to know who it is we are staring back in the mirror. We deserve to know our medical history. Our adoptive family doesn't replace our birth family. They are not our "new" family. Being adopted means you should have two families. More love to receive. Not one family to grieve.

Closed adoption is trauma. It is abuse. Down right abuse! The ONLY time closed adoption should be enabled is when a child's life is in danger to protect the child. No adoptee deserves to have their history erased as if the our ancestors and family members don't matter. Our lives matter as adoptees. It is time adoption be about us, the child.

Adoptees: how has closed adoption affected your life?

Birth mothers & adoptive parents: after reading just a few effects on closed adoptions, what are your thoughts?

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

If Adoption Was About the Child

Everyday over at I Am Adopted I read about the experiences and narratives of adoptees, and the overall conclusion I have made is that adoption is about birth parents and adoptive parents. When will we be real about it and admit that?

Every now and then, adoption is about the child and you will come across good-hearted adoptive parents that genuinely adopt because they see the need and want to make a difference in a child's life, not because they desire to have a child of their own and expand their family. There is a difference. The attitudes that follow post adoption between the two differ.

If adoption was about the child as birth mothers, adoptive parents, adoption professionals and agencies make it seem, this is what it would look like:

  • All adoptions would be open adoption.
  • Adoptees would be allowed to have consistent contact with their birth family (if it is safe) without adoptive parents being fearful of being replaced. 
  • Adoptees would have their original birth certificate.
  • Birth mothers would not deny contact (that is what I call selfish not selfless)
  • Adoptive parents would stop getting so emotional and making it about them when their child wants to search for his or her birth family.
  • Adoptee narratives and experiences would be validated. (You know how there are some adoptive parents don't want to hear or believe the negative aspects "dark side" of adoption. Instead adoptees get scolded, blocked, banned, deleted, etc.). 
  • Adoptees wouldn't be labeled "angry" or "bitter", instead, adoptive parents and birth parents would recognize that an adoptee has experienced a form of trauma and loss and have every right to feel the way they do.  
  • There wouldn't be any lies told or secrets hidden from the adopted child. 
  • Adoptees wouldn't be forced to feel grateful for being adopted. 
  • There wouldn't be an exorbitant amount of money exchanged between adoption agencies and adoptive parents. (When will birth mothers and prospective adoptive parents learn that they are being duped by the multi billion dollar adoption industry). You can change that by demanding lower to no-cost adoption. Adoptive parents hold the power.
  • We would understand that race matters! We will stop having the mindset that love conquers all, and we are all the same in God's eyes attitudes. If you are going to adopted transracially be prepared and don't make excuses for not being able to move or how far you must travel to the nearest city that is more diverse after choosing to spend thousands of dollars on your adoption. Put it in the budget.
  • You would help adoptees find their birth family and demand that legislation change to provide adoptees with their original birth certificates. 

Ask yourself right now, "who is adoption about?" Sometimes adoptive parents and birth parents need to do a self-check on this. If you are an adoptive parent or birth parent and you realize that you have made adoption about you and not your child, I pray that you change your heart in this moment and put your child first by thinking about everything on this list and any other thing that nudges your heart. 

Adoptees: What does making adoption about you look like?

Adoptive parents and birth parents: How do you measure up on this list I outlined?

Big hugs from my house to yours. Thanks for reading xo

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I Reunited With My Birth Family, Now What?

I used to think that searching for my birth mother would be the hardest part about my adoption besides dealing with being adopted (I got used to that already). However, I learned that life post reunion has to be the most difficult part about being adopted.

It's complicated. Everything about it is complicated.

I was searching for my birth mother and little brother for about eight years. My story was plastered all over social media. But never in a million years did I think they would find me. After all, I was abandoned, why would my birth mother or anyone come looking for me? Did anyone even know about me? I used to ask myself that often. Someone had to know that my mom was pregnant. You can't miss a big belly. Yet, still, I never imagined my birth family was looking for me. I had it all planned out and I was in control of the situation when I was searching.

The tables turned on me when I was contacted by multiple people claiming to be my family. After a failed match when I thought I found my brother, I gave up hope. I didn't believe it. What was unfolding before my eyes could not be real. I lost control of everything. They weren't supposed to find me; I was supposed to find them. Emotionally I wasn't prepared. That was scariest part of it all. I did not know what I was meant to do next even though everyone would logically say it would be to meet them. You have no clue how nerve-wracking it can be to have been wondering about your family your whole life and now they are here; they have been found. You cannot think straight. It is like your whole world just came crashing down even though this was something you have always dreamed of. It is scary.

It was well over a year, maybe two, that I reunited with my birth family face-to-face. Simply put, I wasn't ready. I learned that I had six siblings - two older and four younger. That in itself added another degree of pain to know that my birth mother had other child and more children. Why was I the one that was abandoned? What was so bad about me? I struggle with it often till this day because I don't have all the answers, but even with them, I am afraid I will always feel this way. I try to give to God daily. Birth mothers should never place children for adoption when they have other children or plan to have more. It hurts everyone. It subjects everyone to an injury that never heals 100 percent.

Today, in my heart and in my mind, I struggle with how to live my life with two mothers even though my adoptive mom is my mom. She is number one and will always be that because she raised me, loved me, and never gave up on me or our family no matter how tough it was. She worked three jobs and did her best as a widow. That is what a mother does. However, be it the loving person I am, deep inside I want to be able to love my birth mother and call her "mom" or something close to that, but I can't. I want to compartmentalize everyone into their spaces. Two mom's just doesn't feel right. It doesn't fit. It is awkward. It is like I have a family over here and a family over there. And I must keep them separated, my moms anyways. I am afraid that one will feel loved more than the other. Not that my adoptive mom ever said anything like that to me before. It's an adoptee thing. But I have no desire to love my birth mom how I love my adoptive mom. I just wish things could be normal? Whatever that is.

Then there's my siblings. In my adoptive family I have two. I only have a relationship with one. The other one could care less about my life, and she has always felt that way. No matter how complicated that has always been, deep in my heart I always wanted a relationship with them. You know, how sisters tell each other secrets, go shopping, talk on the phone, etc. I have none of that. However, on the flip-side,  my biological siblings are dying to be in my life and want to do all that, but I cannot let them in until I figure out things with my adoptive family. Because again, I don't ever want my adoptive family to feel that I am showing more love to my birth family. My mind won't let me rest on this. These are the effects of adoption.

So now what? They found me. I am found. What does all this mean? I didn't receive any closure whatsoever. I only made my life more complicated. There is so much more to this story, but the bottom line is that I still don't feel like I am connected to anyone. I learned that blood or biological ties really doesn't secure a bond like I had imagined. That comes with time. Unfortunately, my siblings are having to pay for the decisions that was beyond their control because I know they love me like crazy, but I won't let them grow close to me. I am traumatized by what has already happened in my reunion that I am afraid to subject myself to more pain that I can easily avoid by closing the door. I wish I wouldn't do this to them, but this is what being abandoned and adoption did to me. I pray like crazy that one day I can let my guard down and be open to love without fear.

Reunions don't guarantee fulfillment of that missing space in our heart that most adoptees feel. Neither does it always provide us with the answers we need for closure. Sometimes I wish there was a book that teaches us step-by-step how to process everything, but there isn't. What is important is that as complicated as adoption and reunions are, that us adoptees take care of ourselves. It is important that we give ourselves the time we need to process and heal. Declare boundaries for your life with both sides of your family if you need to. Finally, just because you find your birth family doesn't mean that you have to force it work if it is not working. Don't subject yourself to more pain that you don't deserve. If your birth family doesn't want you in their life for whatever reason, cling to those that love you and let them love you. Family is who you call family.

How has your reunion been? Did you have a positive or negative experience? What were some of your struggles post reunion?

Thank you for reading. Please share this post with your community 

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Monday, December 15, 2014

I Am Adopted | No More Tears This Christmas

Creative Commons Playing With the Lights by Alper Orus is licensed under CC 2.0

At some point we all experience the holiday blues no matter who we are, whether it was a break up, a divorce, or a death in the family. But specifically for adopted children, the holiday blues are about missing a child's birth family, rejection, and celebrating a day that is not always so "merry" for everyone. There is nothing worse than being forced to jingle bells when you have the weight of Santa's sleigh on your shoulders.

Every year around Christmas time I would cry myself to sleep every night praying to God that He would reunite me with my birth family for Christmas. I was unlike every other child that asked for clothes, shoes, and electronics for Christmas. I asked for my birth family. It was all I would think about during the holidays. Seeing Christmas decorations or hearing Christmas carols used to send me in a downward spiral of depression at an instant. I refrained from going to stores as much as possible in fear that I would have a meltdown and people would think I was crazy. I remember working the 1st shift at a retail store years ago, and I was in charge of designing the holiday layout that consisted of Christmas trees, animated reindeers and snowmen, and of course an entire section of nativity sets. I felt as if I was being tortured! All I could think of was what did I do to deserve this. I was good all year. Why was I of all people being forced to carry out this job? If only they knew what Christmas did to me or the effects that the holidays has on some adoptees. 

It was 4am, the store was closed, and I was alone looking at the nativity sets and staring at baby Jesus in the manger surrounded by Mary, Joseph, angels, and shepherds. What a glorious moment it must have been when Jesus was born. Every year at church they make a huge deal about this little baby Jesus. His birth was EVERYTHING. How important He was. In that moment in between the aisles, I began to cry in the store and ask myself why wasn't it such a glorious day when I was born? Why wasn't I important enough to my birth mother to keep me? Where were the angels and people in the community to tell my mom how blessed she was that I was born?  

There were no silent nights or sleeping in peace during the holidays. I wanted and needed the holidays to pass on quickly. I didn't want to be the Grinch every year. It hurt me that I couldn't bring myself to celebrate the holidays. I wanted so badly to be happy and celebrate with my adoptive family and friends. I had no control over my feelings. The loss of ones birth family or rejection are feelings that are almost impossible to shake. I concluded that I would not celebrate Christmas ever again until I found my birth family. I thought then I would have found the joy in my own world again. I was wrong though. 

I reunited with my birth family two years ago, and I kept my promise to myself that I would begin to celebrate Christmas. I bought everyone I knew Christmas gifts. I tried to create the perfect Christmas story. However, what I found was that it was even more painful. Those same Christmas songs that made me cry years ago would still trigger childhood memories of rejection and loss. I would open gifts on Christmas day and I was still sad. I would go back into my room and cry myself to sleep. I thought to myself I was going to have to live with this pain forever. I will never feel that Christmas spirit that I know many people feel when they get excited that Starbucks has the Peppermint Lattes back in stock for the holidays, or when people become excited to finally put up Christmas decorations at home and at work. I wanted to be that person badly. I did not want to be the Grinch anymore. I did not want to put on that fake smile for everyone like I was okay. I simply wanted to be jolly. 

Earlier this week I was at Starbucks sipping on my Cranberry Bliss White Mocha latte, a holidays flavor in Japan. You should try it if it is at your Starbucks! I caught myself jamming out to the Christmas songs they were playing. I mean, I was going all in -  bobbing my head, singing, and before I knew it, I threw my arms up as I got into the song. I could not believe not a tear fell out of my eye!

Sweet baby Jesus! Was I possessed? This couldn't possibly be me. Normally I would run out of any place that was playing Christmas songs in tears. I sat there for a little while longer sipping my latte and listening to the songs as I looked out the window and stared at families playing around outside. I had the biggest smile on my face. I began to realize many things about myself and both my adoptive and birth family in that moment. Yes, I was abandoned as a baby, but I am still worthy of love and having a family. Yes, I was born on purpose with a purpose no matter my beginnings. I cannot allow the decision of my birth mother or anybody else to dictate or steal my joy. I have spent too many years allowing the Grinch to steal my Christmas.

I allowed the decisions of others to make me a prisoner in my own body for years refusing to celebrate the holidays and even my own birth. This holiday season, I owe it to myself to celebrate family. Family being those that love me, accept me, raised me, and made me the woman I am today. I celebrate my adoptive mom and my sister for they have always loved me. I celebrate being in reunion with my birth family as challenging as it STILL is; I am still grateful for reunion and the gift it is. I celebrate all of you for I am blessed to have your support and love daily. I celebrate the fact that my life will never be perfect. I have suffered loss and trauma from adoption, but it will never define my life. I cannot change the past, however, I can choose my future. I choose to celebrate.

If you are struggling through the holiday season, I understand your pain. I do. I encourage you to read, How to Cope With the Holiday Blues a post I created to remind me that I will get through the holiday season. I believe you will too.

Define your joy this Holiday season. Jingle your bells! You have so much to celebrate this holiday season! Look how far you have come this year. It is not about everyone else. It is about you. Find a reason to celebrate this season and CELEBRATE!

Love you all! Thank you for all for being a gift in my life xoxo