October 23, 2017

To Worship You I Live

"...it's by Your will, and for your pleasure I exist"

January 26, 2017

Never Lose Hope

It sometimes feels "as if" I'm dragging my mind and body through quick sand. 
Writing that sentence releases tears.  

2013 was a hard year. 
So was 2014, 2015, and 2016.  
I haven't written about many things because they are still too close to my heart.

I don't know why, but emotional processing seems to take me forever.  
I go numb.  
And silent, as well.

I am working again, which is good.  And, in another area of passion -  Education.  
Lord, please don't let me miss life in the midst of grief.   

My son gives me such joy.  He's the sweetest, funniest boy on Earth.  

 I tell myself I should write down the deeply profound lessons he teaches me, 
in his most unique and amazing way.  

It would bless many others, if I could just awaken myself enough to share.  

In the Bible, when David felt discouraged, he would encourage himself 
by recounting the many miracles God performed on his behalf.   

 Even though David messed up royally, God called him 
"...a man after My own heart."

Thank you, Jesus, for the GIFT of salvation.    

Lord, teach us to love.  Like you love.  

Thank you for your mercies...new every morning.  
You sustain us through the wilderness of grief and loneliness, 
and our frail humanity.      

Great is Your Faithfulness.  

Finally, I'm revisiting this blog, started ten years ago in 2007.

Through the years, as I grappled with being adopted and reunited with my family,
 experiencing tremendous joys and devastating losses;
the care-taking of older parents,
and finally becoming a Mother myself;
 buried emotions have sometimes poured out faster than my fingers could type. 

But since I find myself currently dealing with somewhat of a writer's block,
I thought I'd just share a few archived pictures I recently came across.

Here's my one pound miracle boy,
twelve years ago.
Just for perspective.
For several years I couldn't bring myself to
look at this picture because of the emotions it triggered.
It took me right back to the NICU and those first 98 unimaginable days
we somehow survived.

The day after his birth, as he struggled to live, this new Mother was desperate to find comfort as I sat in my hospital bed with empty arms and womb.  
The open Bible on my lap became my life-line.

On his third day of life, my son underwent heart surgery, and that morning my Bible fell open to this amazing verse, which I had never read before. 

"I will comfort you like a Mother comforts her child..." Isaiah 66:13

Knowing God Himself would comfort my son (and me) when my arms could not, 
brought relief to my grieving heart. 

The day I finally got to hold him was Heaven.

Now, many years later, my son is starting his own journal.  And here is his very first entry....

"I was born early, but God helped me."

Lord, please help us all keep living and writing our parts.

We can do nothing without You.

"NOW faith is" 
Hebrews 11

During the time I was believing God to break fear off my life 
and give me the courage to have children, I was reading the newspaper one day 
and saw the cutest picture of a baby crawling away from the camera. 

On the back of his diaper was a $100 bill with a picture of Benjamin Franklin. 
(My last name). 
Suddenly, I felt my spirit leap with excitement.  
Although my soul felt weak and unable to believe, 
my spirit had been feeding on God's promises, 
which bring faith (belief, even before we see).  

I got my scissors and carefully cut out that picture.  
All the while, my finite mind screaming, "YOU FOOL!"
"How could YOU ever have a child...you are not worthy, you fearful weakling."

Even while my emotions were being bombarded with doubt, 
I tearfully forced my hand to hang the picture on my refrigerator, 
where I would be reminded daily 
of this seemingly impossible desire of my heart.

Is anything too hard for God?

Just like Abraham, against all hope, believed in hope....I believe that 
very simple, yet emotional step of faith helped bring me my beautiful son.  

Every minute since has also been a walk of faith and grace, 
depending literally minute by minute upon God's mercy and miracles.  

Thank you, Father God, for loving us and never leaving us.
 Help us always feed upon your Word, for You truly are the Bread of Life.

"How Can I Grow?"

How can I grow
If I have no roots?

I am a limb and
I have been grafted
From an oak tree onto
A flowering peach.

I shall bear no fruit
But I am expected to bloom.
I am expected to give birth
to beautiful, golden peaches.

Having lived on a tree
with which I share no roots,
I am living by the rules set
forth for this tree.

I do not breathe or move
That I do not wonder if I
Shall wrong this tree.
I have found that in the
Spring I am expected to bloom.
I do not bloom.

I would like to be myself, to
grow straight and strong,
As my heart is pulling; but
I am expected to be filled
with golden fruit.

What will I do? I must do what
My feelings direct me to do.
I am an oak. I am not sure
what kind of oak, but I am
an oak. I can feel it in my
heart and in my soul.

I must search and find out what
kind of oak I am.
I must find out
what is to become of me.

I am expected to bear golden fruit.
I will never be able to do such a thing.
But I can become a beautiful chair
or a table grand.

Author: Molly Apperson
A beautiful adoptee friend.

Final Payments

            This is the actual "final payment" check for the finalization of my "adoption" in 1968.
                                                            I cannot believe I found this.

August 20, 2016



 (Originally written September 1, 2009)

I work for an amazing network of parents raising kids with extra needs.
We support new Mom's and families who are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy, have a baby in the intensive-care unit, or whose child has just received a diagnosis of some type of health issue, disability or delay.

 It is the perfect way to "give back" a tiny bit of the support others gave me when my son was born very early.

It seems amazing, though, how everything is interlinked and interwoven in my journey.

I recently visited a young Mom on bed rest in the same hospital that my son was born and hospitalized four years ago.
It was surreal to walk those long halls and enter the familiar room where my son and I literally fought for our lives.

I remember hearing women giving birth at all hours, while I lay hooked up to monitors and magnesium sulfate praying to live; listening to them push and cry out in joy when they held their babies.

So when I entered the room today and saw her laying there, my heart broke.
Showing her the birth picture of my one pound son and watching her face react in surprise and HOPE that he made it (and so can her baby);
it was empowering and healing.

The strange part of this experience was the exchange I had at the "check-in" desk for visitors, before I could go back to visit her.

Waiting in line, I over-heard an adoption agency "mentor" asking questions regarding the "protocol" for when she brings her "mentee" in for a scheduled c-section.  She was concerned about where the "adoptive parents" would "wait" to see the baby.

As the older lady asked these questions, I noticed the pregnant Mom playing quietly with her other young child, who was with them. The little girl was so sweet and cute, and as she walked by we made eye contact.
I looked into her innocent eyes and wondered how she will someday deal with the reality that her Mother "placed" her sibling for adoption. 
 When will this young mother REALIZE the huge life-altering decision she is making? And why aren't there more resources available for mother's like this to receive support, without encouraging her to surrender her baby?

I happened to KNOW this "mentor." 
 When she turned around, I re-introduced myself and we talked.
She is the wife of a former state senator, whose district I happened to live in a few years ago, and we also attend the same church.
I went to one of their open houses and enjoyed talking to her about adoption and the IMPORTANCE of adoptee access issues.
She shared with me her passion for "orphans" and how she someday would like to be involved in helping more than she was able to while her husband was busy with politics.

I guess her "someday" has come.
We are both at a place in our lives with roles of "helping" but with completely different perspectives.
As an adult adopted person, my idea of "helping" a young mother does not involve "encouraging" her to be a hero by "gifting" her own flesh and blood, simply because others are married, or have more money, or badly want a child.

The gravity of separation between a mother and her child ~ whether to miscarriage, prematurity, or adoption ~ is profound.

Adoption should never be "encouraged" to provide a child for another,
even if they have waited and hoped for a long time.

Support (in my mind) would involve equipping young mothers with the knowledge and tools to embrace the miracle of Motherhood.

I WISH there were more resources available to pregnant mothers, that did not involve the "option" of surrendering their babies.
When this "option" is included in pregnancy "counseling" it seems to be ripe with conflict of interest and serves only to plants seeds of doubt and low self-esteem in an already vulnerable mother and baby. 

Stranger still is this all occurred not only in the hospital my son was born, but also the same hospital I was born and lost my Mother in, in 1968.
My records (that I have had to fight for) mention "prolonged crying" in the new-born nursery the day I was discharged to the attorney.

Maybe I already knew.

The day I gave up hope of being "me" with the Mother and family God originally ordained me to be. The day that would start the journey of life-long search & necessary healing.

As I experienced this day, I found myself empathizing with the feelings of so many ~ the way my first Mother must have felt (like the pregnant mother awaiting the birth of the child she would turn right around and relinquish to others); the loss her small daughter will feel someday as she realizes the minutes, days, and years she lived without her sibling; and the fear I saw in the eyes of the other expectant Mother, 26 weeks pregnant and praying for one more day, one more month of carrying her precious infant close.
Having to surrender her child to metal beds, loud noises, sharp sticks, and bright lights in the NICU ~ so many emotions.
All interwoven and all involving the most primal, important, and profound relationship of all ~ Mother & baby.

My son (born 3 months early) STILL doesn't have a strong sense of self.
His use of pronouns ("I", "me", "you") are all mixed up, especially when it comes to conversations involving me (his Mom) and him.
We are ONE (still) in his little mind, because his development is so delayed from being born premature and being separated from me so early.
Not to mention his anxiety, attachment, and trust issues.
It breaks my heart and reinforces the profound importance of the early mother/baby bond that is lost with premature birth AND adoption.

No matter how many "professionals" (making their living from this 'business') want to gloss it over or completely deny it ~ it affects every aspect of an adoptee's development and life-long perspective. EVERY ASPECT.

If organization skills are really a picture of our inner-life, no wonder it has been so hard to live by the rule I grew up with ~ "everything in it's place". 
 Some things may never find "it's place." 

 This adopted woman's life was forever blessed,
the day I became a Mother. 

 Yet I profoundly felt my son's pain of being separated from me. 

 My hormones screamed for him while the primal inner child in me wept
 knowing his cries were for his Mother, and yet not able to hold him in the place we both longed for. 

 My womb. My arms. 

 I shudder with memories of walking away from that incubator each evening feeling intensely broken.

It's taken me 2 hours to write this. 
 I've been blessed to hear a little voice yelling "Mommy" every few minutes ~ my son wakes from napping and realizes I'm not beside him.
Thank you, God, for that voice. Thank you...

April 11, 2016

The emotional impact of losing my family through adoption, 
and then finding them again in 1990 is felt every day.
When I look back over the years, sometimes I'm amazed. 
It's true.
 Had I given up through the highs and lows of this journey,
I may have forfeited the laughter and love 
my son and I shared with my Dad at lunch today.
The full-circle Thanksgivings we've cherished with my maternal family. 

We all live in the same town. 
We experience life more and more together. 
The joys, and the sorrows.

I've come to know and accept myself,
and grown closer to my entire family,
by birth and adoption, 
through facing disenfranchised grief 
who completely understands and loves me.

Oftentimes, only after He's relentlessly pursued
my desperate running heart,
day after numb day. 

A Savior who I still don't trust completely,
but who has always been faithful to answer my prayer...
"Father, please help me trust You."

 One day, several years ago, while sitting at my paternal grandparent's (by birth) kitchen table, my Papa Sid showed my cousin, Lisa and me a beautiful purple plaque,
with the word "Shalom" painted in colorful script. 
He explained to us that his Hebrew name was "Shalom" and it meant "Peace." 
Our beloved Grandfather passed away unexpectedly just a few days later. 
We were so young at the time, we didn't understand the impact
and the blessing he was sharing with us.
"Shalom" means "peace, wholeness, nothing missing or broken."

A few years before, my maternal grandmother (by birth), Carolyn,
called the family into her room on the 14th floor of St. John's Hospital 
and had us recite The Lord's Prayer and Psalm 23 together. 
She passed away the next day.


Thanksgiving morning 2013 I would find myself
on the same floor of that hospital,
holding my (adoptive) Mom's hand as she peacefully left earth,
just as the sun was starting to rise. 
My adoptive family's surname was Shepard. 
Years later, it occurred to me. 
 The Lord (Jehovah Rohi) has truly been my Shepard. 
He has taken this lamb into His arms
and held me close to Him, my entire life. 
He cares.  He feeds.  He restores.

A few days ago, I was having an especially sad day...
and those days always seem
to remind me of my Mothers
The one I never got to meet,
because she passed away before our reunion...
and the one who raised me.

My sweet husband listened, and helped me remember. 
"Really though, don't we all originate from Heaven...
our real Home?"
And he's right.
Thus says the Lord:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and where is the place of my rest?"
Is. 66:1 
Father, thank you for these gentle reminders.

"I'll pour robust well-being
into her like a river.
As a mother comforts her child,
so I will comfort you." 
                               Is. 66:12-13