The Blessing of Adoption

Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, you didn’t grow under my heart but in it Fleur Conkling Heyliger
It’s safe to say that one of the greatest feelings in the world comes from the warmth of being unconditionally loved. Whether that mean the love of your spouse or partner, or the connection you share with your mom or dad. Or even the loving bond between your siblings and friends.I’m extremely grateful for all the love that I’ve had in my young life. But the truth is, there are many parts of the world where unconditional love is lacking. With wars taking place each and every day, messy political battles, starvation, and greed; the world needs you more than ever.

Because even in the darkest of alleys, remains the fact that we as humans are meant to love.

I wrote this essay nearly 4 years ago during my sophomore year of high school, and to me, it captures the essence what unconditional love really is. Certainly, my birthparents weren’t the only ones to show me this mysterious force, but the story carries an invaluable lesson that you can probably relate with.

Unconditional love is the solution to all of the worlds’ ills.

While the details of this story may differ from yours, I ask you to go forth and share the light within you.

This is a tribute to my birth parents – because of their unconditional love I am able to share my passions with the world – I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The night before, I couldn’t sleep. I lay awake tossing and turning. What was I to expect? What was I to call them? Mom? Dad? I will never forget the day I hugged my birth parents for the first time in a mid-sized chain restaurant. I was 12 years old.

But why?” I often recall asking my mom, when the subject of being adopted came up. “Because they loved you honey,” she would patiently reply.

Ever since I can remember, my parents have been nothing but honest with me concerning adoption. For this reason, I have become comfortable openly talking about adoption.

I’ve always found it funny, how when a person I know discovers I am indeed adopted, they are always afraid to ask questions. Now, I know they are just trying to be respectful, but I have nothing to hide.

My parents’ honesty and candor regarding adoption has caused me to admire the both of them, greatly. I realize that not all children are as lucky as myself. I have heard stories of adoptee parents who have hid the fact from there children that they were adopted.

This saddens me deeply. Being adopted is nothing to be ashamed about. I am truly grateful for how my life has turned out thus far.

My birth mom at the time of her pregnancy was not married to my birth father, their relationship anything but stable. Receiving news that she was to have a boy, she began to think.

She couldn’t stand the thought of me not having a father; a father to play catch with me outside in the backyard; a father to take me camping on the weekends; a father to give me the always dreaded “birds and the bees” talk.

For this reason my birth parents agreed, for my own well-being that I was to be put up for adoption. For my birth parents to put up their only son for adoption, shows how much they loved me. To do what they did must have been one of the hardest things they had ever done; but when it came down to the future of their baby boy, they knew what they had to do. To this day I thank them.

My parents always wanted to have kids, and like many other families, adoption didn’t even register in their minds. They tried to have kids the “normal” way. Nothing. They tried again and again and again. Still nothing.

Finally after a visit to the doctors they discovered that having biological kids were not part of God’s plan. For a couple whose only dream was to raise their own children, this discovery became -as my parents recall- “one of the lowest points of their life.

Biological kids may not have been in God’s plan, but the man up stairs had something else up his sleeve.

My parents – still distraught over their inability to have their own children – had nowhere else to go, they turned to prayer. It wasn’t long before their prayers were answered, in a form a of a phone call. A friend of my mom, who ran a daycare center, knew of a lady who’s sister was putting her baby son up for adoption.

My parents jumped on the bandwagon. With in a few weeks I was in their hands. Who said not being able to have biological kids was a bad thing?

It was finally the day! The day I was to finally meet the two people who brought me into this world. I picked out my favorite pair of jeans, a nice t-shirt, and a sweatshirt – in which an outline of snowboarder gracefully covered the front.

My dad, mom, little brother, cousin, and I were to meet my birth parents for lunch. I had been waiting for this moment all my life. Who was I going to look more alike? My mom? My dad? My mind was bombarded with questions on the drive (which seemed like forever) over to the restaurant. We got to the restaurant and parked.

With every passing moment, my heart began beating faster and faster, for reasons I can’t explain. At the last moment I became scared, so scared I almost couldn’t move. We opened the door to the restaurant and walked in. Off to the side, there was a couple with a table reserved. The couple – my birthparents.

The next few minutes are hard to recall, as it all happened so fast. All I remember is hugging both my birth mom and birth dad and feeling a sense of joy fill my body. I was the luckiest kid in the world. I had four parents who would give the world for me. I had seen pictures of my birth parents as a child but nothing beat a real life photograph of them.

We continued on to have lunch, which was filled with lots of questions – none concerning adoption, of course. What was my favorite color? (blue) and so forth. I can honestly say that was one of the best meals I ever had.

Every day, I thank God for how things have turned out in my life. It is amazing how our lives are a mere result of cause and effect. If one small piece of my past were altered, it would change the world today. I respect my birth parents for giving me up, for doing what they thought was right, at the time. This is a pure act of love.

To say they were successful in providing me with a good life would be an understatement. They provided me with the best life a kid could ask for.

I also thank God for not allowing my mom and dad to have biological children, for if that were to have happened, I would have not been adopted by some the most loving parents in the world. I wouldn’t be who I am today, without their guidance and knowledge. This is all part of God’s plan and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Today’s story was written by Bud Hennekes and is shared from the following website: http://thinksimplenow.com/family/unconditional-love-being-adopted/comment-page-1/

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Adoption…An Inspired Concept

Family is not defined by our genes, it is built and maintained through love Amelia G.

The subject of adoption is near and dear to my heart. The adoption of my youngest son and daughter has its own story – one that continues to this day. You can read about my adoption story in my book, A Glimpse of Heaven. However, today, I want to share someone else’s story with you as well. Adoption begins in the heart and that is where it needs to stay – I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

An Adoption Story That Started at Saks

On my many excursions into Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City over the years, I’ve bought countless pairs of shoes that brightened my mood, picked out dresses that (sometimes) flattered my figure, and turned over my credit card for too many cosmetics that I’d hoped would make me look like a fresher, prettier version of myself.

But one afternoon in October 2002, I walked out of the store with something more valuable than anything money could buy. I found hope in the unlikeliest of places after months of despair, thanks to a woman who decided to strike up a conversation with me in the store’s café.

It was a painful time for me. Married a little over two years, I’d suffered three devastating miscarriages in nine months and, at 42, was slowly coming to terms with the idea that I might never be able to have a child. Up until that point, I never really gave much thought to being a mother, and suddenly I could think of little else. My husband and I had been together for ten years before we decided to get married because neither of us was in a hurry to do so. My parents’ marriage had ended disastrously, leaving my mother in deteriorating health and dire financial circumstances. After her death a few years later, I vowed to maintain my independence, and I threw myself into my work as a freelance marketing consultant and fledgling writer. Motherhood just wasn’t part of the plan.

As my 40th birthday approached, I began, for the first time, to notice babies and their happy, smiling mothers wherever I went. I wished I could talk to my own mother about the yearning, hurt, and confusion I was experiencing.

On that fateful day, I’d been trudging around the city sleepwalking through meetings with clients while the voice inside me cried out, “It’s too late! You missed your chance to be a mother! You wanted an all-consuming career, and now you’ve got one.”

A light mist turned into a heavy rain. Perfect, I thought. Just the thing to match my mood. With an hour to kill before my next appointment, I ducked into Saks, hoping to distract myself with some retail therapy. When scouring the sale racks did little to lift my spirits, I decided to head to the ninth-floor café.

An elegantly dressed, slightly older woman wearing a tweed blazer and oversize pearls was seated a few stools away at the half-empty counter.

“Would you like to see a picture of my daughter?” she asked me.

“Sure,” I said, not at all sure why I was remotely interested.

She reached across the counter and handed me a photo of a smiling Chinese girl. The child was about seven years old and was wearing a Snow White costume.

“That’s Melanie. She’s in the first grade,” she said. I could hear the motherly pride in her voice.

“She’s pretty,” I said. “I love her costume.”

We were still chatting when our salads arrived. My new acquaintance told me she was exhausted, having been up half the night worrying over the news that some boys on her daughter’s bus had teased her about the “funny-smelling” Chinese snacks she had in her lunch box.

The woman explained that she felt strongly about teaching her daughter about Chinese customs and maintaining ties to her heritage.

“What made you decide to adopt her?” I asked, uncertain whether I’d ventured into too-personal territory.

“I didn’t want work to be my whole life,” she said.

I’m not sure if she saw the tears welling up in my eyes as I replied, “I don’t either, but I’m afraid it’s too late.”

“I was 51 when I adopted Melanie,” she said with more than a hint of reassurance in her voice. “And it’s the most rewarding, exciting thing I’ve ever done.”

When our checks came, she handed me her business card, and I finally learned her name—and in that minute, I saw a happier, more fulfilled version of myself. Jill Totenberg was a public relations consultant and a happy, loving adoptive parent. Could I ever hope to have that kind of life?

That night, I dreamed of my mother, remembering that she once had wanted to adopt a child from Vietnam, but my father hadn’t felt the same way. It was the first time she’d ever appeared in my dreams. I woke up knowing I could be—and would be—a mother. I also knew how that was going to happen.

A few days later, in the car on our way to dinner, I told my husband that I wanted to look into adopting a girl from China. “You’re enough for me,” he said. “But if you want to find out more about that, we can.”

In early 2003, we registered with an adoption agency and began an 18-month “paper pregnancy.” During that time, I kept in touch with Jill, e-mailing her occasionally. I promised to visit so I could meet her daughter, but as often happens, life got in the way. Still, the little girl in the Snow White costume and her mother were never far away in my thoughts.

When my husband and I returned from China with our nine-month-old daughter, Madeline Jing-Mei, in November 2005, Jill was one of the first people I e-mailed. “I did it!” I wrote. “I’m a mother, and she’s beautiful!”

“Congratulations,” she wrote back. “You’re embarking on the greatest adventure of your life.”

We recently reconnected on Facebook, and I reminded her that meeting her was the single most important encounter I’d ever had with a stranger. “I can’t imagine my life without Madeline. She’s the happiest child, and I adore her. I would have never really thought about adopting a baby from China if I hadn’t met you that day,” I told her. “You changed my life.”

“You were just ready to hear what I had to say,” said Jill. “It was meant to be.”

Today’s story was written by Diane Clehane and is shared from the following website: https://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/adoption-story-started-saks/2/

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Super Mom…

Super mom mother-429156Motherhood is such a tough job. Yet, though the rewarding moments may come infrequently, I believe that motherhood is one of the most important jobs in this world. Few others can shape a child and the world in which we live like a mother. I have seen the effect that I have had on my first four children. (Which I think/hope is mostly positive?!)  I have also seen the effect of their birth mother on my adopted children. Although my adopted son was four and my adopted daughter was nine when we adopted them, the emotional damage received as a result of a mother who frequently abandoned her children still continues to plague my children and our family. Their ability to love, trust and allow themselves to be vulnerable has been significantly compromised. Just like innocent victims in a car accident, they are left not really understanding why it had to happen to them and though the damage and neglect was not their fault, they each must be the one who does the work of recovery. I hope that every mother who feels the burden of her frequently thankless job will know that heaven thanks you for all of the sleepless nights, sacrifices made, moral instruction, positive example setting and nurturing that you do and so do I. Though I know that few days FEEL that way, as mothers, we truly are in a partnership with God. With God’s help, we are the ones who are most able to effect positive changes in this world. When the world needs change, God sends a babies into the hands and hearts of women who will raise, nurture, and instill values and principles within those children that will enable them to rise above adversity and become a part of the positive solutions needed to address the various problems of this world. God knows that the super heroes of this world are not leaders of government – they are the mothers (and fathers) who are daily in the trenches of family life; loving the sometimes unlovable, teaching children who often seem unreachable, and giving their families all of their energy even though that energy vanished with the morning chores. Tonight, as you prepare for bed, give yourself a pat on the back; for today you were a part of the super hero work of raising responsible children!

 

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Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Mother's Day 2014Happy Mother’s Day and a huge heartfelt thanks to all mother’s of every kind who sincerely seek to improve the world and make it a better place by loving and nurturing the children of our world!

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The Blessing of Being Vulnerable

 

Clear Heart

Be sure to keep yourself vulnerable…

Make sure you expose yourself emotionally….

Place yourself in situations in which you can make sure that you can be hurt.

Do people tell you these things often? You have probably never had those things said to you because we live in a world of minimizing hurt, damage, and exposure.

I believe that our ability to expose our hearts is an important component of being emotionally and spiritually healthy. Let me tell you why.

First, let’s do a test of opposites. I will list a word and you fill in the blank with the opposite:

  • Black     __________
  • Dark      __________
  • Day        __________
  • Love      __________

What did you fill in for the opposite of Love? Did you use the word hate? Hate is not the right answer…the right answer is apathy.

There was a time in my life when I would have said that hate was the opposite of love too. But that was before I personally witnessed my two adopted children protect themselves at the cost of everything I believe to be most important.

My youngest two children were adopted from Russia when they were 4 and 9 years old. They were not orphans – they had been removed from their birth family due to neglect and abandonment. As you might imagine, they have experienced some difficulties in their lives.

They, of course, are not the only ones who have ever been through difficult life circumstances. However, their choices and behaviors strongly reflect what they experienced in those years prior to our adoption of them.

Our adopted children spent more time in our home with our love and influence than they spent in their birth country of Russia. However, I can assure you that the influence of those initial years has heavily outweighed the influence we have been able to have. As family and friends have watched our family struggle to help our adoptive children the frequent suggestion has been that we just need to give them more love.

I was once blessed with the experience of re-visiting heaven. I saw there the preparations that were being made for each of us to come to earth. I also saw that even there where our perfect Father in Heaven reigns and where His perfect love infuses everything present there – that God and His perfect plan for this earth was rejected by a large number of his spirit children. So even where perfect love dwells – love was not enough.

My adopted children have found that guarding themselves against hurt, rejection and vulnerability is the easiest way to make sure they never are hurt, rejected or vulnerable again. What that means is that they shut out family, loving relationships, and even passions and interests they might have.

Imagine what your life would be life if you made sure, at all costs, that you were not vulnerable. There would be no truly loving relationships – only manipulative ones. You couldn’t have any goals because you might fail in reaching those goals. Excitement and passion would be taboo because those emotions would make you too open to failure or disappointment.

I am not suggesting that we deliberately set ourselves up to be hurt but I understand now how wonderful and amazing it is to be vulnerable!

By being vulnerable I can love (even when I might get hurt), I can get excited about goals and future events that I want to happen in my life and I can embrace the talents and passions that I have – even when it might mean I will experience failure and disappointment. I can imagine and what I imagine can become a reality – all because I am willing to expose myself to whatever outcome may result.

Everything that I hold dear is a result of my willingness to allow myself to be accessible, susceptible and vulnerable – my marriage, my family, my friends and everything that I am passionate about!

So while I would never suggest that we intentionally seek hurt and pain – I hope you will join me in recognizing what a gift having an open heart and being vulnerable is!

 

 

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