Friday, April 26, 2013

Sisterly Devotion

As you can guess by the title this entry is about another visit we had this week with my daughter.  Last week her social worker called to let me know that the visit was being changed.  Instead of being 2 hours and at her office it would be a 3 hour visit, my daughters foster mom would supervise and we could take her were ever we wanted including out to dinner.  We got so excited.  So the plan was to take her to a small indoor water park and then out to a buffet style dinner. 

There was a slight hitch when we arrived at the hotel that had the water park though.  The name had changed.  Dang.  So I panicked slightly that they wouldn't know where to meet us.  But all worked out because my daughter remember the place from when I brought her and her brothers there during some of the visits.

Her foster mom was just going to watch from afar so would not be swimming.  So the rest of us went to get changed.  After changing into our swim suits my son waited on a towel while I got to braid my daughters hair for the first time to keep it out of her face when swimming.  This was something I had missed for so long.  And even though we were rushing it was nice to share that special mother/daughter moment together. 

Nico was a little unsure of the new environment but his sister was determined to get some smiles out of him and make sure he enjoyed himself just as much as she did.  We went into the warm water of the kiddie pool first.  She laid down in front of him and kept sliding back and forth and as she would come up to him she would kiss his leg, or face or arm and so on.  As she would slide back she would talk to him.  he quickly warmed up to this attention and was giving her huge grins.  I was enjoying watching this interaction between the two of them.  Wishing that it was something they could both enjoy every day.  She was also wearing goggles so he love to reach out to try and grab them.

Then we moved into the big pool.  It is actually a wave pool but when we got in there were no waves yet.  My partner and I took turns holding our baby and swimming with my daughter.  In this way we all got to swim and have fun with each other.  At one point my partner and my daughter wanted to go down the slides.  Our baby son was obviously too little to go down the slides so he and I watched them exit the slides under a small bridge.  He thought it was hilarious to see them come flying out.  They then went down in tubes and had so much fun.  By this time my son was looking a little blue from the cool water.  He was having a blast but I wanted to take him to warm up.  So I left them to keep going down the slides and went and visited with my daughters foster mom for a little bit.  My daughter and partner joined us after a short visit. 

By this time it was close to the time to go for dinner.  My daughters foster mom let us know her husband was going to be joining us.  I thought that would be nice to finally meet him.  So we all went off to change before he arrived.  When we came out he was there.  A very nice guy.  Quiet at first but as we all got to know each other the conversation flowed nicely.  My daughter rode with us to the restaurant which I loved.  When we arrived my daughter made it clear she wanted to sit between my partner and I.  We had no problem with that at all.  We all got our meals and then sat to some great conversation, a lot of laughing and good food.  Who could ask for more.  Even our son enjoyed the food.  Everything just clicked.  We discussed the plans for the next visit as well which we are all excited for.

Time of course slipped by way too fast for any one's liking.  We all walked out to the car and said our good byes with lots of hugs and later for me some tears.  Every time we leave I feel like I am leaving a part of my heart behind.  But all in all it was a great visit.  I love the bond that is building between my daughter and her new brother.  We are counting the days till we get to all see each other again.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

I Am Missing You

In my dreams I still hear your giggles, still feel the warmth of your hugs, still see the light of happiness in your eyes.  In my dreams you are so very real that I wish I could pick you both up out of them and bring you into my day.  I miss you so much my dear sons that my heart aches, my breath catches when I talk about you, my eyes burn with tears at the thought of you.

I don't know how your day is anymore, I don't know what shoe size you wear, I can't mark on the wall your growth.  I can't tuck you in at night and laugh as you beg for another story.  I can't kiss the tears away when you are hurt.  I can't watch you get messy as I teach you how to cook.  There is so much that I am missing.  So much that is so important that I am no longer a part of.

There are three very important seats at our table that are empty and will never feel right till you and your sister fill them.  I am saddened that your little brother doesn't have the chance right now to know you both.  To have the wonderful big brothers, that you two are, in his life.  To learn from you, to argue with you, to tease each other, to get into trouble with each other.  We are all missing so much.

I don't know who or what the family you are staying with is like.  I hope they are telling you both about us.  I hope they have told you both about your brother.  I hope they know how much you are missed by us, loved by us, wanted by us.  I hope they can open up their hearts and see that you belong here.  That our family was ripped apart because of lies and kept apart so the powers that be don't have to admit their mistakes. 

My greatest fear is to never see you again.  Never hear either of you call me mom again.  To hear that you call someone else mom.  That someone else gets to take that role in your life. That you grow into who you are without me or your siblings in your lives.  You are my sons.  You will always be my sons.  You have always been wanted and loved by me. 

I don't know how to bring you back home. I don't know how to make the powers that be see that you should come home.  I wish I had the answers.  I wish I could just wake up and this all be a bad dream and have you all in my arms again.

If you ever get a chance to read this I hope you can see that you are loved, you do have a family, you do have a mother.  I am here my sons.  I wish you were too.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

A Different Perspective

Something interesting happened this week that started out with a not so pleasant happening.  Earlier this week.  When my daughter was about 3 or 4 I ordered a beautiful mother and daughter keepsake for her.  I planned to give it to her when she was officially a teenager.  So when she turned 13.  I missed that birthday as you all know.  So at our first visit that we had this month I gave it to her.  It was a beautiful ceramic heart with a poem on the outside and inside of a mothers love for her daughter. All these years, through countless moves I kept it safe. We gave it to her at the visit with us and she loved it.  After learning what my mother had done every time my daughter got gifts I knew she would treasure this.  Plus it would help her see that she was always loved and wanted.  She has always been my special girl.
Well a few days ago at the foster home, while the foster kids were being babysat, some of the foster girls started to bully my daughter. They broke her earphones and were yelling at her, banging on her door and so on. She ran and stayed with the person watching them all. But in doing so the girls took that time to break her keepsake. One of the hearts is missing a whole half, the dangling heart is gone and one of the flowers is destroyed.  I felt so bad for her.  I wanted her to have something precious to keep.  Knowing it would never be taken from her or mad to make her feel bad.  Instead the message would lift her up.  I figured she would be angry, upset and so on.  She did get mad for a short while.  Who wouldn't. 
I immediately decided to see if I could find something to replace it with.  I knew it would not have the same meaning as the keepsake since I had saved that for so many years for her.  I went looking on Ebay and other places but could not find anything even remotely similar.  So I posted on my Facebook for ideas.  Other friends were also upset for her.  But then my daughter came on, read what I was doing in looking for something to replace it with and then wrote this:
"NO!!! I like it the way it is now. Look at it at a different angle of perspective. It symbolizes something more that just love now. It shows how our relationship and hearts were broken when we were taken from each other. But now they are mended, our love and relationship is mended. Yes some pieces are missing because of the four years that we didn't even see each other. But the love is there, it is mended. The cracks show that we are strong. That heart was broken because I wasn't going to let those girls get to me. I stood my ground and ignored them, I didn't budge. I will not replace it with a new heart locket because it wouldn't be the same, it wouldn't represent these things. They are going to mend it just like our own hearts can mend. No matter what, a heart can mend after being broken and hurt, yes some pieces will be missing but we shall not over look those as weakness, they show that we are strong, inside and out."
WOW is all I could think of to say.  What a mature way to look at things.  It took a 14yr, who has been through so much, lost so much, to see things with a whole different perspective.  I let her know just how proud I am of her for finding a way to look at the situation that no one else did.  Her foster mom is going to glue what she can and mend it as best as they can.  And the two girls responsible will be replacing her ear phones.  Regardless I am very proud of my daughter. 
I just wanted to share this interesting event because I think it really shows the strength of this beautiful young lady.  That even though someone totally evil tried to destroy all that was beautiful in her, instead she is showing that her beauty(inside and out) was much strong then my mother ever even imagined.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Adjusting to People's New Perception of Me

The past few months I have been having to adjust to something I never thought I would have to adjust to.  And that is people's perception of me, us and the events.  For so long, just about 36yrs, I have grown up with people looking at me in what ever way that my mother dictated.  Whether that meant people saw me as schitzophenic, as a liar, crazy, drama starter or so on.  When people have a preconceived perception of someone it causes them to treat that person a certain way.  And in so doing that person ends up expecting bad judgements, expecting attacks, expecting insults even before anyone does anything.  A wall is up to try and protect themselves.  In some ways I felt like I deserved them because that is what I grew up being told.  But as I got older I start to get on the defensive all the time.

I also would have preconceived ideas of people.  I expected everyone to judge me harshly.  I felt like I always had to explain everything in great detail to try and stop people from judging me.  It is all I knew.  Very few took the time to actually look at the facts.  Not when it is so much easier to believe the lies.  Always expecting people to treat me a certain way made it very hard to trust or get close to anyone.  I would try and reach out to people in various ways only to get scared and pull back, expecting the harsh judgements and treatments.  Only a handful of people have I let down the walls with.

Now things are changing since posting about my children being rescued, since posting what my children's rescuer witnessed, since my daughter has shared her thoughts on here as well.  People are calling me Strong, an Inspiration and other words of encouragement and support.  And I don't know how to feel about it or respond. Don't get me wrong, I need the support, my kids need the words of encouragement, but after defending all of us for so long it is something I am having to adjust to.  Part of me wonders when I see these words if they are talking to or about someone else.  I don't see what they are calling me.  I just see me.  That is the only way I can word it. 

As I receive your private messages to us I pass them on to my daughter, and hopefully some day to my sons.  I never want her to feel the need to defend herself against the lies my mother told to cover up what she did and was doing.  I never want her to worry about the harsh judgements because of the preconceived judgements of people because of those lies.  I want her to be able to look in the mirror and realize just how special, strong and inspirational SHE is.  This is why I appreciate your messages to us so much.  We may not always know how to respond to your encouraging words but we do appreciate your support through all of this.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

An Entry By My Daughter: I Have Found My Miracle

My daughter asked me to post this on her behalf. 

"I was raised to believe that I was worthless, that I did nothing right, that I would never have good things in life. Well, I was raised wrong.

Life can be hard, life can be great, but my life, well, my life has just turned for the best.
I have met my littlest brother, I have held him in my arms, I have made him smile within five minutes. I have been held in my mother's arms for the first time in over four years, I have laughed with my mother over the weirdest things, I have rested my head on her shoulder. I have laughed with my step dad to be, I have been held in his arms, I have listened to all that he had to say. I have found heaven in a world of hell, I have felt a mother's love once more, I have found my own miracle.

All my life I prayed for a miracle to come and show me that they cared, no matter what. A miracle to show love and guidance in a world that had none. I found mine once again after losing it. That miracle is my mother, my friend, my miracle.

Life can be hard and miserable. Whenever I hear someone complain about how their parents yell at them, I always shake my head and think, "you don't even know how easy your life is."

But as long as my miracle is there, I can always find love and guidance. I have found my light ray of hope in a world of darkness. That ray will always be my mother."

Her entry brought tears to my eyes.  I hate what she has been through the past 5yrs.  But no matter what I will be her rock.  Our home will be her soft, safe place to fall.  She was never worthless.  She radiated such love, joy, strength and so many other wonderful things that my mother was jealous and had to try and destroy it.  But in trying to do that my daughter proved just how much stronger she is.  My daughter is defiantely an inspiration to me.

I also wanted to post some of the poems she wrote and gave to me yesterday.  I asked her permission and she granted it.  She is such a wonderful write.  So here are some of the poems she has honored me with:

Poem one: " MOM
When I am home in bed
I can remember what you said
All those "I Love You's"
and those "I Love You Too's"
They never mattered to me
What matters is the smiles I see

I see that you are kind
both with your actions and your mind
with all the creatures.
You've got such nice features.
Your kindness shows through and through
I will always want to be like you
I love you mom."

This poem helped me to see the strength of my daughter.  My mother tried to make it sound like to be like me was the worst thing my daughter could be.  Instead my daughter saw through her cruelty.  I am so honoured that she wants to be like me.  I do hope she grows up to have some parts of me.  But I can't wait to see who she becomes. 

Poem two: "Family
to me family matters
I hate it when it shatters.
It makes the sky fall down,
and I feel like I'm gonna drown.
But then it rises up,
like water in a cup.
When you say "I love you,"
I have to say I love you too."

I do hate that my ex and I could not keep our family whole for our children but it was not health or meant to be.  Some times two people just can't be together.  No matter what though she has a family.  One that she never has to worry about being abused.  One where she is safe to make mistakes and try agian.  One where she is loved and wanted.  No matter what she had been told she now knows she has a real family.

Poem three:  "A Mother
A mother should be a friend
to help the wounds mend.
You were always there
for your experiences to share.
But after I stopped wanting it,
but now here I sit
Thinking about how I ruined life
and how you were a good mother and wife.
You were there when I was down
And I wouldn't frown.
I want you to be here
and feel your love near.
All I can say
you make my day."

No matter what, to all who read this blog, know this so that some day my daughter may know this.  She did not ruin anything.  She was/is a child/young lady.  She had to make choices that no child should have ever had to make just to survive one more day.  No one can blame her for those choices.  The blame belongs on one person and that is her grandmother.  She is the one who ruins lives.  If she had done to adults what she had done to all those children she would have been in jail for assualt and battery at the very least.  It is a crime that she walks free while this beautiful young lady feels the guilt that her grandmother never feels.  Reguardless of how I was raised I know what it is to love and my children are loved and always will be.  My arms and home are always here for them. 

Poem four:  "US
I can see,
you are like the sea.
The sea is a mystery,
Your love has a history.
You and I have the same eyes,
and tears when either cries.
I am your daughter
and you are my mother."

This one made me cry.  I hate that she has endured so many of the same things I did.  And them some things no one had before her.  I hate that we share those kinds of experiences.  No child should endure those things.  And I do cry for her pain, for her fear, for her lonely nights.  Her tears are my tears.  And she is right I am her mother and my love for her will never die.

Poem five:  "Mother's Touch
When I feel lonely,
lonely and all alone;
I crave for that mothers touch,
mother's touch that sooths me.
I crave for my mother's arms;
Mother's arms that bring me close.
I crave for my mother's voice;
Mother's voice that always calms me.
When I feel happy;
happy and all joyful;
I crave for that mother's touch
that only my mother can give."

This brought to my mind images of my daughter as a baby, rocking her to sleep, as a toddler and soothing her after she would skin her knee, cuddling her after a nightmare letting her know the mosters are not real and she is safe.  Sadly she did meet a real life monster and I was not there to chase it away.  And for that I will always be sorry.  But she is no longer that little girl.  She no longer fits on my lap like she used to.  But that does not change that fact that I can still hold her till she feels safe agian, hug her till she knows she is loved.  I missed so much and have a lot to catch up on but I have strong shoulders and will be here for as long as she needs me.

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Miracle Reunion

Some of you may be wondering why I have not updated in a while.  Especially since my daughter and I have started Skyping.  The first reason was my new son had his cleft lip surgery and we were concentrating solely on helping him heal and so on.  It has been about 4 weeks now since his surgery and he looks great.  His surgery really is an artist and we are so pleased with the beautiful job he did.  Our son is all healed up now and doing great.

The biggest reason though was because of a surprise.  My daughter made it clear to her workers that she had no intention of being adopted ever.  In her words "I already have a mother!".  Once the workers were finally convinced that she was not going to change her mind she requested a visit with us.  It has been over 4yrs.  Way too long for us to have been kept from each other when there was no reason to be.  Wellllll the visit was yesterday and it was everything we could have wished for and more. 

We will start at the beginning.  The visit was organized to be a the social services office in a city two hours away.  So since my children's rescuer lives in a town that was on the way, and she had not seen our baby since before his surgery, we planned to leave early and stop to visit with her first. She was so excited for us and so happy to see our son.  She even made us a wonderful lunch of pork roast(it was so juicy and yummy) and potato salad and noodle salad.  It was very good.  And when we left she sent us with drinks and sandwiches.  lol  I may have a womb donor who doesn't treat me like a daughter and hates me and my children but this wonderful lady always treats us like family.  You can't help but feel the love and acceptance from the moment you enter her home.  We took some photos and she sent hugs, through us, on to my daughter stating that she was excitedly awaiting pictures of our reunion.

By this point, on the drive the rest of the way, I was shaking with excitement.  I was worried that we would feel like two strangers meeting since it had been so long and not like a mother and a daughter.  We got there about 10 minutes early, put our baby in his stroller along with all the gifts and so on and away we went.  We rode the elevator up and just outside the doors to the office was a bathroom.  So I went in quickly to freshen up.  When I came out I heard my partner saying "I knew it was you".  I came around the corner and there she was.  Her back was to me and she was knelling in front of her brother talking to him.  Her foster mom was there but my eyes were focused on my daughter.  I snuck up behind her and just as she went to turn I tapped her on the shoulder.  She instantly shouted "MOM" and then she was in my arms in such a strong hug.  We didn't let go for a few minutes.  My daughter whispered to her foster mom "It had been too long" meaning too long since we last saw each other.  We all spoke at the same time then and then laughed.  Her foster mom stated she figured they had booked a private room upstairs and she was right.

We got to meet her social worker and she seemed nice.  She brought us upstairs into a large room with comfortable chairs.  At this point we all asked her to take pictures of us as family with my daughter making it very clear that my partner was to be a part of the family shots too.  Which really made him feel a part of my daughters life too.  My daughters foster mom went and waited somewhere else which we so appreciated.  We all cuddled up close on the couch for the pictures with lots of smiles and laughs. 

After the pictures it was a race to see who could give who gifts first.  My daughter won wanting to give us the gifts she had made and got for all of us.  For her brother she gave him a beautiful teddy bear(almost the same size as he is.  lol) with a cute jean jacket.  He LOVED it so much that when he slept the entire way home he had it locked in his grip.  She also gave him a little stuff that was an Easter bunny and a little bead sign that she had made with his name on it.  We are going to use it to make something for his door.  For my partner she painted up a ceramic horse.  She did a beautiful job on it too.  She got me a gorgeous pendant that can be used as a pin or as a necklace.  She also made another bead sign that had M and D on it standing for "mother and daughter".  I loved it all but there was one gift that stood out above them all.  Even now I am tearing up just remembering it.  She handed me a photo album.  She had started a memory book for me.  In it was pictures of herself and her two brothers.  Pictures I have never seen before. Added to that, and just as special is she had drawn two beautiful pictures.  One of a cat and one of my partner and I that she copied off a photo I had given them 4yrs ago.  And last but definitely in no way least, in the memory book was a letter to me and some beautiful poems.  In the letter she tells me that she views my step dads(who I see as my dad) as her grandfather and my partner as a father.  When I read this to my partner on the way home both he and I cried.  There is so much more. 

Now it was my daughters turn.  She seems like me.  Embarrassed to except gifts.  They were a long time coming.  The most important gift I gave her was something I had bought for her several years ago when I was a single mom, with the intention of giving it to her on her 13th b-day.  We are a year late but not too late.  It is a beautiful limited addition ceramic heart.  There is a poem from a mother to a daughter written from the front to inside it.  She loved it though it was fun to watch her try to open it.  My partner had taped it closed very well.  lol Then she got her Easter basket.  She enjoyed that as well munching on the chocolate throughout the visit.

At this point I gave the worker my sons' Easter presents.  They were rolling small suitcases that looked like airplanes.  Made of a very soft material that was attached to the rolling harness and handle by Velcro so could be easily washed.  Inside was the same things my daughter had gotten in her basket.  A dog stuffy with bunny ears(each dog was a different breed for each child), a large chocolate egg from their rescuer, a toy and some other chocolate and candy's.  But most important was a family photo that my partner and I had done with our baby.  On the back was a personalized letter to each child letting them know how much they are loved and missed and that we hope to see them soon.  The worker assured me that she would get them to the family my sons had been placed with.

Then my daughter, who is a wonderful writer already, shared some of her short stories that she was working on.  She is really good about character development, details, bringing the reader into the story and so on.  Very interesting.  While this was going on her worker stepped out for a while which was find with us.  She wasn't really involved in the visit.  Just there to see how the interaction went.

I was enthralled with her stories and when she finished reading them too us was slightly disappointed that they were done.  I can't wait to read more.  We then chatted as we made some leather bracelets that I had brought to make sure we had something fun to do.  Periodically each of us would hold and play with her little brother.  She had him smiling a lot.  We got some good pictures but my favorite was when she gave her brother his big stuffed bear.  She was holding him so it is just a picture of the two of them and they both look wonderful.  You can see in the photo just how much she loves her baby brother.  Close to the end we discussed visits with the worker.  We had stated we could do a visit a week with no problem.  We just had to plan it around my partners work schedule.  Which was not seen as an issue since every other weekend he has off and one day every week in the middle of the week he has off.  They had considered another visit in a month, which no one liked.  So the compromise was in 3 weeks we would have another 2 hour visit.  Not soon enough for me but much better then a month or no visits.  Her worker did seem impressed with how the visit went though.  So that is a plus.

Of course the visit was over WAY too soon.  An hour was just in no way enough.  We had brought some of my banana bread loaves with us to give to my daughter and her foster family but had forgotten them in the truck.  So the worker walked us over to the entrance where my daughters foster mom was parked.  We chatted while she asked her foster mom to meet us around back where the truck was.  So we all, minus the worker, walked to the truck while my daughters foster mom drove over to the truck.  Chatting the entire time.  We got the bread and then sat on a bench and chatted for a while.  My daughter cuddled right up to me with my arms around her since it was chilly out. 

No one wanted it to end but we all knew it had to.  I wanted to hug her and bring her home and never let her go.  But I knew we had to do this through the right steps.  No one may like those steps at times but hopefully the end result will be worth it.  Seeing her has given me the strength to continue to not give up in trying to make my family whole and to repair the damage that was done by so many lies. 

No matter what we told my daughter that her grandmother had not won.  Today's visit proved that.  She had tried to permanently seperate us all but it had not worked.  Our love for each other was too strong.  A love that time and distance had not broken.  Some day this family will be whole again and my mother will be a distant memory that will not even be worth the time to bring up.  And in all of that she is the one who lost something.  Not any of us.  She lost the love of such a special, beautiful granddaughter.  She lost a strong and determined daughter, she lost 3 wonderful grandsons.  And not one of us will miss her but we will all have each other. 

This visit really showed me that my family is full of love and strength.  I can't wait for the day when my daughter and I no longer have to say goodbye till the next time.

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