Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas was amazing. The kids loved their gifts and were very grateful. Andy got his car and gift cards, Miri got clothes and an ipod touch, O got his nintendo ds, and AJ got a laptop. All got various other things. We then went to eat Japanese for lunch and then the movies at 7. Pictures aren't loading right now, I'll try tomorrow.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where did the year go?

I am so not ready for xmas, but I bit the bullet and did the bulk of my shopping today. I have very little family, so my kiddos got the bulk of my money :) O was easy to shop for. I just looked for things he could blow up. Miri is all about clothes now. Andy got a 79 ford thunderbird with t tops, and Miss AJ was harder. I bought her big present a while ago and now she has decided she doesn't want it. I can't send it back either. Oh well. She got other little things anyway. So now xmas can roll on and I can get to the good stuff. The food of course, and never to forget Jesus' birthday. That's what it is all about!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

One year ago today I met one of the loves of my life. In the adoption community it is known as gotcha day. That phrase seems foreign to me because I never got Oskar, but it was he that always had me. 365 days ago I met my son for the first time. For 18 months I imagined what that day would hold. I waded through mountains of paperwork, willingly let immigration and social workers invade my privacy, and answered everyone’s unending questions about why we wanted to adopt. Isn’t it funny that because God told me to isn’t a good enough answer? I sold things, borrowed, begged, and in the end accepted the gifts that God gave us to make our adoption happen. I asked advice, talked to other adoptive moms, and read all the books that tell about preparations for adoption. They said not to overwhelm him, to be unassuming, and to let him come to me. I meant to do all those things, and in the end, I did none of them.

In the freezing cold of Europe without coats, we would set out to meet our son for the first time. After landing in Estonia at night with no luggage, working phone, or a way to get into our apartment, we were exhausted and emotional. See, our plane had broken down in Chicago, and we ran all the way to the opposite end of the airport crying and begging another flight to let us on after they had shut the gates. We had to sit on separate rows for 8.5 hours and agree to leave our bags in America if we wanted on the flight. The flight was very hot, cramped, and miserable at best. We got through it though and made it to Germany and tried to sleep on benches for the next 7 hours until we could board a flight to Tallinn, Estonia. From the first flight until we arrived in Estonia it was over 20 hours. After taking a taxi to our apt we buzzed the bell on our building with no answer. We asked one stranger on the street to let us use their phone to call to the missionaries inside, but he would not. The second man that passed by was very kind, spoke English, and let us use his phone….maybe kind is not the word, drunk and happy would better describe him. We later learned the intercom system was so quiet inside that one could barely hear it ring. The next morning shopping for coats could wait, only hell could keep me from seeing my boy when the sun came up. We bundled up in what we had and went to the orphanage the after begging our facilitator to take us a day early. If he would have said no, I had intentions of showing up at the gate and begging them to let me in! When we arrived, we had one gift for our son, the chocolate bar from our meal on the plane; our bags had been sent to Detroit, Michigan. Everything I had bought with love and care had not yet arrived; I had only a small piece of candy to bring my son.

The ride to the orphanage was a scary one. A million things went thorough my mind. What if Oskar did not want to come with us? What if he was scared too? Would we connect? Was everyone going to think I was insane because I wasn’t dressed anywhere near appropriate? In Estonia people wear gloves, scarves, hats, thick boots, a jacket, and then a coat. We had none of those things because when we left the USA it was still tee shirt weather. I don’t remember being cold though. I just recall my heart pounding.

When we arrived at the Lastekodu(orphanage), I told my husband to hold the camera and film every second. My hands shake when I get nervous, and I knew I would be of no use. I was so scared I was nauseous. Our facilitator walked so fast, we had only the chance to take one picture of the outside of the orphanage. Igor ran us down a long hall and up stairs and walked us through the door to Oskar’s group. Everyone says the orphanages smell different and sound different, but I remember nothing. I had my eyes and heart set for one little boy. If not for my husband’s film footage I could not tell you what the orphanage looked like. As soon as we walked in, he came running up, smiled, and grabbed the toy we had mailed him months before. My eyes were glued to his face, and I did the only thing I knew how and that was pull him into my arms. I held him, cried, and told him in Eesti that I loved him. The greatest joy though was when he put his arms around me too. See, Oskar knew for 11 months that we were coming, half way through our adoption they allowed us to send a photo album of our family. He was waiting for me just like I had been waiting for him. A little boy on the other side of the world was waiting for his parents to come and take him home for almost a year, quite a long time for a little boy to be patient, but he had spent his entire life in the orphanage not belonging to anyone. He was told that the orphanage was a temporary place for children to live until their parents came to bring them home. All the children believed that one day someone would come for them. So for 5 years he waited for his mom and dad to come back for him. Each year or two as he got older he was moved to a different part of the orphanage with different caregivers still waiting for someone that would be his forever.

When one adopts, everything seems to be centered on bonding. Classes are taken about the subject, other adoptive parents tell things to try, and at every corner someone has a story about how if bonding doesn’t get off to a good start, everything will fall apart. I did not worry about any of that though, and I was not afraid Oskar would not love me back. The way I saw it was I could love enough for the both of us. I walked into O’s life fully prepared to accept him for whoever he was and spend the rest of my life earning his trust. I took his hand, and we walked right out of that orphanage. I had my son, and he finally had his mother. We never looked back either. He was exactly who I thought he would be. He was full of fire, passion, and energy. Since he was my son, I decided to throw all the rules out and ignore everything the books told me. In my mind, my son was a prince and should be treated accordingly, hence the nickname I gave him, the Eesti(Estonian) Prince.

Though it was frigid and inches of snow covered the ground, I was determined to see as much of Estonia as I could. We took Oskar to restaurants, for his first happy meal, the grocery to pick any food he wanted(how happy he was when he got to pick an apple and tomato), window shopping at the mall, on a city tour, the movies, zoo, and once even a fine chocolatier(for one precious piece of candy). When we walked in everything looked so fragile. I was petrified by the china and white table cloths and afraid Oskar would smash it all to pieces lol. Instead my son asked the girl behind the candy case on a date! Everyone says when a child is adopted to shrink their world and keep things simple. I decided his world had been way too small for 5 years, so I was going to open every door. I did everything the textbooks said not to do. Oskar saw Estonia with wide eyes, giggles, and maybe even a few tantrums. For the record, the Argentina restaurant is not a cheap café like we thought. They take reservations, but of course exceptions will be made when you walk in with a prince. However, one can not guarantee a little boy will remember to act princely! Still, every person that met him loved him; we had a chance to tell people from Estonia about adoption and what a gift it was to us. It was as if the people had no idea there were orphans in his country. I had the opportunity to show him his country even if one day he no longer recalls it. I walked the streets day after day trying to soak it in and find a way to remember enough for him one day.

Each night when it was time for bed Oskar rocked himself to sleep while I cried, back and forth from side to side he rocked and not gently either. I cried because he had learned to do this on his own with no one to do it for him. I would sit beside him and rub his back promising him he would always have me to comfort him from each day on. Each morning he woke up I felt like I had been given the greatest gift in the world. Oskar always wakes up with a smile and can often be heard singing. One day I fell asleep on the couch and woke to him standing before me stroking my cheek so softly as if not to wake me up. When I opened my eyes he gently smiled. That’s when I knew for sure I had seen the face of God. It was in that instant that I knew for sure God loved me, and anything was possible. Oskar did not have to love me, but he did. With reckless abandon, past anyone’s definition of reasonable, and through fear, he loved me. To me, it was the only true way to love. From that point on I changed, grew, and started to become the person I was always meant to be, Oskar’s mother. I knew that very day that I would die for my son if it ever came to that. If a 5 year old boy could be brave, loving, and walk away from everything he ever knew without looking back, I could be a better person. We did have our challenges, but one thing that was constant was our devotion to each other. Oskar and I were meant to be together.

One year ago I met my hero, and I was loved and wanted more than anyone told me was possible. The next day we went to court and when the judge asked what we thought of Oskar, my husband and I looked at each other and said perfect in unison. It took the judge 10 minutes to grant our adoption and to our social worker’s shock she said she would have the papers typed in 5 minutes. From what I gathered it was quite unusual to be done so quickly. The judge said we were brave for adopting Oskar and that she knew he would thrive and have a future in our family. All I could think is that Oskar was much braver than we were. It was not my son who was lucky, it was us.

Many people do not understand adoption. They think it’s only for rich infertile people who want that perfect little baby. I was neither of those things. I was just a woman who felt like a piece of her soul was missing. I spent years not knowing exactly what it was I was looking for, and I just happened to find it in Tallinn, Estonia. Oskar is beyond what I wanted and everything I needed. He is good, kind, and spectacularly wonderful. He is not afraid of very much, and when anyone is sad he is the first to worry about them and make them feel better. He never sits still, and the entire world is one big adventure for him, but to know him is to love him. He has that affect on people. It’s in his smile, the smile that looks ever so familiar. I imagine one day when I finally get to meet Jesus, their smiles might look a little alike. For it was my little boy that actually taught me just how powerful God’s love can be. He made me realize that miracles do happen, God does part the seas, and he gives life. He took me over the ocean and gave me greatest heart’s desire, my Oskar. He answered my prayers and did what fathers do, love their children. One year ago everything changed for me. I learned to stop looking behind me, and instead I looked above to God, never forgetting that everything I have comes from him.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The looney bin

One day soon the men with white coats will be coming for me. These children are trying me at every turn. I went to school to eat with A.J. today. I do that about once a month or so. Apparently the boys are spinning their water bottles and when it lands on a girl they tell her they want to kiss her. Yesterday it was A.J. I informed the girls that no kissing happens until diamonds are provided, and not that fake crap either. Their eyes were big and you could tell they were listening. Then I told the little boy to get a job and start saving now. Miri got home and is in one of her baking moods, so the kitchen is destroyed. Boy she loves to cook, but man can she make a mess. Oskar thinks it's funny to burp. It's his new fav thing. It is driving me bonkers. Then there is Andy...... Let's just say I don't approve of his new girlfriend. I'm going to tell you what I said at dinner....minus the raised voice. "Andy I didn't want Miranda to date her, and I don't want you too either". Enuf said about that. I will be coloring my hair soon, I'm sure I'll be all grey by Friday.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

O's little mind is just opening up. He has now forgotten most of his Eesti :( I REALLY tried to help him keep it. I spoke as much of it as I could. He watched movies, videos, etc in Eesti, but it just wasn't meant to be. He still says kui, kuis, lapsi, must, and a few other words. Now he has decided he wants to learn spanish. He watches dora every day and practices saying the words. Maybe languages are his thing? He also does speech therapy 90 minutes a week, and it seems to be helping. He is much easier to understand. He now wears a size 6 shirt and 5 pants. His favorite two foods are tacos and lasagna. He regularly asks me to cook those for him. He still does not like American food. He will tolerate it, but never choose it. O takes turns wanting to be a doctor when he grows up or police man. He does karate 5-6 days a week with A.J. and he is starting to settle down there. The discipline is good for him. O is still a momma's boy all the way. He doesn't like to even be in the other room without me. As soon as he wakes up he comes to my room and stands right beside the bed. A lot of nights he asks if he can sleep with me. I say no, but he still asks. Cars and little action adventure people are his favorite toys to play with. He prefers to make up his own story lines. Sometimes he is one action figure and daddy is the other. His poor cars are always getting in wrecks. I will no longer buy anything not constructed of steel. Every toy gets smashed, crashed, or blown up. Oh, Oskar knows about God too. He loves him, but he doesn't understand why he has to be so far away and why we can't see him. Sometimes I wonder the same thing. O asks to go back to Estonia and visit. He doesn't want to live there, but he misses the kids and wants badly to play with them. He misses Raili too. Oh how he loves her. He is also starting to wonder about where he came from. I told him what adoption was and that he was not in my tummy when he was a baby. He then wanted to know if he was in daddy's tummy and then maybe Raili's. He also thought that A.J. was adopted too. He asked why he never saw her in Estonia and wanted to know where we got her from. Lot's of things are going through our sweet little boy's mind!

Friday, October 15, 2010

I don't have a plan

Yep, you heard me. I don't have any idea how or if our family is going to grow. I'm still waiting for my husband to tell me he lost his mind. I asked each of the children what they thought would be the best fit for our family. Miri said a teen girl would not work. Of course her princess status would be unearthed. So she said she wants a 11 year old brother. Specific request huh? A.J. wants a sister pretty close to her age. She says color doesn't matter either. I love that kid. For the record she saw a little girl on the dhs website she likes. I have been watching that little girl for years... even before we found Oskar. So then I asked the Eesti prince. He wants a baby. It is not debatable. He told me babies sleep in little beds and tried to describe the things than spins and plays music (a mobile). He wants a baby sister and for her to share his room. Want to hear something neat? O is ROUGH and tumble, but all that ends when he sees a baby. He becomes very gentle and slow. He would be an amazing big brother. For the record, hubs has said girls are easier. however, he thinks a teen girl would be insane. What do I think would be nice? Who the heck knows. Seems like some compromising is in order huh?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sssshhhh, don't tell, I'm about to buy myself a new purse, well an ebay, barely used purse, but still a new to me purse.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Miri turns 15

Dearest first daughter,

In true Shea fashion your birthday will not be just one day. It started last night with your massive cake and daddy's chili pie. In a little while we take you to a football game and to try the new chinese restaurant. Your grandpa and grandma are coming to town to celebrate with us. Next week we will do your bonfire party with friends and you will get the rest of your presents, and of course another cake. Remember though you did not get flowers from me last night, you did get diamonds. Anyone who knows you will laugh because of course you deserve nothing less!

I want most of all to thank you for being my daughter and letting me be your mother. I know I am not a typical mother and as I often told you, my children did not come with rule books, and I am doing the best I can along the way. I know that we expect more from you than many parents, but you set the bar on that one kid, you always expected more out of yourself. It seems like yesterday I was meeting with your kindergarden teacher. I recall her saying it was test time and she heard you talking and came up behind you to hear you say, "I can not make the same mistake, I can not make the same mistake".

When you were little I always said you were hell on wheels. You refused to change for anyone and almost got thrown out of pre school. You had no intentions of being put in the early reader class if it meant missing time in the gymnasium. I was certain that you would be suspended in elementary school too. You got in so many fights! However, they were for defending others and standing up to bullies. I don't remember you ever fighting for yourself.

That was how I raised you. I knew God gave you an extra loud voice, so I taught you to use it for good. I never knew it would be to hit so many boys though! Somehow for you it worked. The bus drivers never punished you, and the teachers looked the other way. You were always loved, and people were afraid to pick on others in front of you because they knew they would get knocked around a bit. I'm happy though to see it is happening less, and you are using your wit to defend people now instead of your fists.

15 years goes by in the blink of an eye. I am having a hard time seeing you grow up, and you are having a hard time being patient with me. For your entire life I have been trying to protect you, and you always seem to be yelling that you can do it quite nicely on your own. You never held my hand when you learned to walk, and you did not ask for help unless you had exhausted every other option. One day you will learn that my will is just as strong as yours. Maybe you will slow down a little and hear my voice from time to time.

I love you Miri. Having you has made me a better person. Seeing your strength has made me proud, but always know that I am here to be strong for you too. Your years may increase, but I will always be your mother, and you are my baby. No one can take your place. You are my first daughter, the first child I ever loved as a mother. You are beautiful, kind, smart, and a child of God. From the moment I gave birth to you, I promised you back to him. Slow down baby, and always remember that you don't have to be perfect. He is perfect enough for all of us.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

I'm more than just my children,

I don't talk or write very much about my mother. Seems like if I have nothing nice to say I should not say anything at all. That's not really fair because she did have good qualities, few and far, but everyone has good in them. I digress though. My mother's life was not about her children. It was a sad life and she lived only in the past. My mother was put into the foster care system at age 13, and her life before then was not anything nice to talk about. I'm not exactly sure why she chose to have children or keep them, but there were 3 of us. Still, we were not the most important part of her life, we mostly just took up space in her world, and anything good that happened to or for us came at a cost. When I had children I decided all of that would be different. I made my life all about my babies. Every choice I have made as an adult surrounds them and what is best for them. Unfortunately, that comes at a cost. I have not and do not take very good care of myself. I have few guilty pleasures and have trouble buying much of anything for myself. I think all of that is going to change. Last night we went van shopping. We are not going to buy something right away, but we are looking. Right beside the vans was a convertible. Suddenly it hit me, I am buying the van for my kids, so they can be comfortable. My whole life has been for them, maybe it's about time I include myself it in it too. Stay posted, things are going to change. They may be small things, but I am going to start doing something for myself because one thing is for certain, if I don't do it, it's probably not going to happen :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Okay, so sometimes I kind of get frustrated. I just want my kids to be appreciative, which most of the time they really are. I gave O a supplement shake which he loves. We had been out for several weeks. He got so excited and asked me why did I do that, why did I buy them for him. Every day with him is a gift. Miri is a teenager and convinced I know nothing. BUT she does help me so much around the house. She also surprises me sometimes and just does little things to make my life easier. She makes the little's lunch every day. A.J., well no one is like drama momma. 90% of any issues with her related back to her ocd. She gets so focused on 1 thing of her choosing that she rarely can think of anything else. An example: if you tell A.J. you are going on vacation, she is packed a month in advance. So any time we do anything special, even like riding bikes, we have to tell her right before. We have had friends who asked A.J. a few days before we were due to go on a trip was she looking forward to vacation. A.J. will look at me and ask if we are going somewhere because we still haven't told her yet lol. Andy is grown or so he thinks. Bubba is 21 now and has just figured out that being on his won is not much fun. No problem though, I will always have his back. Hubs is....well, there is no one quite like him. I'll just leave it at that :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sometimes I wonder. I wonder if my children will ever know just how hard I try to do my best for them. I wonder if they really comprehend that I only work to give them the things they want. All of income from my checks go straight to private school tuition, karate, horses, movies, mall trips, college books, gas for Andy and help with his bills. Every other week I go out and buy myself lunch(a cheap one usually from the dollar menu) or maybe a kids meal for breakfast. That's it. I am not complaining. I adore my babies, I just wish they would appreciate the things I do for them a little more. It hurts to see them take the things I work so hard to given them for granted. It hurts for them to think I am too strict, and it seems like as much as I give, it is never enough. Being a mother is hard, being a good mother is even harder............

Friday, August 27, 2010


The littles are doing Karate. O spends a good amount of time getting in trouble, but he is doing better each time, and I am super proud of him. He is also enjoying kindergarten. I swear he gets cuter every day. A.J. is growing like a weed. She skipped right over size 7 clothes and now wear an 8! Her hair is growing out too, and she is so sweet. Well they both the littles are sweet when they are not trying to defeat the other one. O is eating as much as he can stuff in him so he can be bigger than A.J. He wears size 5's and has a way to go. He has barely gained any weight. He wants so badly to be older than her too. Miri is in high school. I am now officially crazy and mean because I do not want her to date until she turns 17. Oh well, she can get over it. She is causing quite the stir in her journalism class. She wants to write an article and have it published in the school paper against sexual harassment....against heteros and homosexuals. She has a new dear friend who is a boy and is getting picked on horribly for being different. Miri says no one should be judged whether it goes against her religion or not. She has promised if her friend continues to get picked on, she will fight the next football player who makes fun of him. I reminded her that she is a GIRL, but she assured me that she can take a boy. We shall see.... Andy is doing way better. He got some wonderful news that will set him free after 18 months. He feels like he can become more focused now on school, and maybe one day will graduate. Big poppa's and my 14th anniversary is coming up. WOW! That is a long time to put up with someone. I can not believe we managed to stay married after all these years. You could not tell me a few years ago that we would still be together lol. Anyway, we both took off to celebrate Monday that we aren't divorced yet. I have no illusions of romance and all that crap, but I have to say we have raised some amazing kiddos together, and if that isn't something to celebrate, I don't know what would be. We are very happy that our kids are doing so well, and together we really have achieved a lot. So that's my update on my little family. It sounds funny to me when people think that 4 kids it a lot. Our family feels small to me.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What a journey

Sometimes I see glimpses of the life I had before. I mean really before, like a decade or 2 before. Few people know the person I was in my other lifetime. So here's my own personal recap of my recollections.

As a little girl I was convinced I would be the next Madonna. I wanted nothing else but to sing. Unfortunately I suffer from extreme stage fright. Once that came to light I was sure I needed a back up plan, so I figured carpentry might work. I watched all sorts of house building shows on tv. I was pretty good at fixing things too because I was constantly breaking things and getting beaten gets really old.

As a teen, I suppose I was a weird as they come. At the lovely age of 14, I began dating.....a 19 year old bass player in a band who wore only black. Yea, something was extremely wacked out about that, but to me of course, it seemed just fine. I studied theology a lot too. I was convinced I needed to pick a religion, preferably a branch of Christianity. After all, I did go to a Pentecostal school as a child. However, I had friends who were Wicca, so I started there(researching not practicing) and quickly figured out, the Earth wasn't really worthy of worshiping, though it did frighten the librarian when I asked for books on white and black magic. I recall her telling me that even Satan worshipers needed to read too. Nice huh? After that, I moved on to Judaism, but even considering that Christ was not the son of God made me feel physically ill. Then I went to a Catholic church. A good portion of it was in Latin. That did not go very far. Then there was the time I had those Mormon missionaries into the house. Did you know if you order the book of Mormon off of tv, they send them to your house? They do. One the young men put a copy of the bible together with a copy of the book of Mormon and said to consider them like one book. The only problem with that was it's kind of written at the end of the bible that were wasn't any additions to be made. So after that, a boyfriend asked me to go to a Methodist church with him. I like it, a lot. Then he told me the youth pastor advised him we break up. So I did not go back to that church anymore. Then I met my husband and in order to be married in the Church of Christ, we had to accept pre marital counseling, which coincidentally ended up helping the wedding be called off by yours truly. I got over it though, and after the minister promised to take obey out of our vows, things rolled on. He did however surprise me at the ceremony by including a little 5 minute speech about how the husband should love his wife enough that he would live his life for her like Christ did the church. I was liking that part until he talked about how a wife should let her husband lead the home. Still, I found my niche and was baptized shortly after. It was and remains the most important day of my life. It was the only moment in time where I was free.

I thought I was grown and was 18 when I was married, and in my opinion that was entirely too young, though no one could have told me that. The thing about being married in your teens is that you're not grown yet. No one told me how much I would change, my beliefs, desires, and dreams. I was convinced that love was enough to make anything work. No one told me that sometimes people desire to rock the boat, and sometimes they even get so damn mad, they throw the oar out, and then things just float or even capsize.

Though I am not the girl I was at 18, I remember her very well. Sometimes, on a good day, I feel her walk right by me. I even smell the Chloe perfume she used to wear. I look at pictures of her, and remember the promises she made to herself and mostly to others. I really believed that no one could stay mad forever, and love cured everything. I had a lot of faith in humanity. I was very accepting, and I saw in rainbows. I was completely perplexed by racism and even at one point in time believed I was a Democrat.

So here we are in the present. I don't believe in rainbows anymore, but I put my faith somewhere much firmer. I know God in a way that I always dreamed I could. My walk with him is by no means perfect, but now I listen instead of thinking I have all the answers. When I was younger I loved perfection, the idea of it. I really counted on forever and someone's word being their bond. Then I grew up, and I did the one thing I worked hardest not to do: I looked behind myself.

My journey was long and filled with mistakes, but it was my road. I could not have lived or loved any other way. Still, I think it did not have to be so hard. I did not have to learn how to love at the age of 32. I pushed everyone around me too hard. I moved on too quickly and to be honest, some people never stood a chance to know me or love me. Now I love for the right reasons. I love those who don't ask to be loved, I help those who say they don't need it, and I stay when it makes more sense to go. I fight harder and wiser. I think two moves ahead, and for once, I live with few regrets.

For 16 years, I have lived my life with my husband. I have been my husband's wife, friend, and lover. It's been a hell of a ride, one that is no where near over. He used to tell people that I had the hardest job in the world, being his wife. He's right. For every step toward him I took, he walked up hill a little more. He is the most difficult person to please that I have ever encountered. He's heard me say many times that he did not need me to love him because he was already in love with himself enough for the both of us. We are oil and water. We have few of the same beliefs, habits, or even dreams. Still, because we are stubborn and we aren't quitters we refuse to give up. We find our compromises and spend a good deal of time laughing at each other. Yet, when things are the hardest, we know that we only have each other. We both love passionately and each year we turn right back around to each other.

I fought hard for my marriage. I was pretty mad for a while that it was so much work. Then I had my own little epiphany. I thought about this being called God. I looked back over my life and it occurred to me that all those years I spent seeking knowledge, maybe he was along for the ride and waiting on me. As imperfect as I was and obviously confused, he sat by patiently and silently. He pointed no fingers and held no grudges. He wanted me to love him on my own. He had no reason to love me. I wasn't anything like him at all. He loved me just because.

Maybe all my mistakes made me who I am today. Maybe because I had to fight so hard I appreciate it more. Regardless, this journey is what it is. I love because I want to not because I feel like I am supposed to. I am always a child of God, and nothing can ever change that. Sure I still screw up constantly, but I know that grace is not earned, it is a gift.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Life is busy and blogging has taken a back seat. I did not get to do a lot of family things growing up, so it's always been my mission to make it happen for my babies. Family trips and things are important to me, and we have had a busy summer so far. We have taken 3 vacations, even though none have been quite a week. We went to St. Louis Mo twice and Hot Springs Ar. Between both trips we did lots of swimming, museums, 6 flags, a baseball game, a boat tour, too much eating, and my favorite: shopping lol. The kids had a blast but poor O has a hard time with the summer. We have also been to the zoo about 5 times so far, visited Graceland, and went to the movies a bunch. Two kids have gone to church camp and we have celebrated 4 birthdays in July(mine, Andy's, A.J., and Oskar. O and A.J. had a mini party and cake on their actual bday and then they shared a party on the weekend. That made four cakes in 4 days! I think it is safe to say they are completely spoiled, but they deserve it! Now it is time for things to settle down. Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the mall shopping for new spiffy school clothes. O is definitely a man when it come to that stuff. He picks the first handful of things he sees and has picked his whole wardrobe in less than 5 minutes! The him and Daddy go sit on a bench outside the store and look as if they are being tortured!

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Andy

Tomorrow Anthony turns 21. It's been a hell of a road to get him there. Andy was born when I was 11 years old. I had waited my entire life for a brother, and time pretty much stood still the moment he was born. There is not very much I would not have done for him. I don't know that we ever have been mad at each other for more than a few hours either. When he was little, he was my everything. He came in my room every day after school and tore it apart. He removed all my books from my book case and would stack them in piles around the room. I did not care though. Each night I would put them back. I bought him his first rattle and stayed up the first night he came from the hospital to watch him breath.

When I was 15, my first love broke up with me. Andy was in the room when I got off the phone and saw me crying. He asked me if the guy had boke my heart. I said yes, and he he said, "sitty, I'll never break your heart". I think he meant it too. Andy worries a lot about what I think. Therefore, he doesn't always tell me stuff. We are very different too. Though I have pretty much raised him since he was 7, he is his own person. First off, he is a democrat. I still have hope he will see the light of day once he has to pay real taxes lol.

When I was a girl, I promised my mother that if anything ever happened to her, that I would take care of Andy. It has been my pleasure for the better part of 21 years to keep that promise. Andy was the first person I ever knew for sure loved me. He is strong, but he doesn't know it. I could have spent my entire life spoiling him, but I knew he would never stand on his own feet, if I did not make him. After all, if you go through life believing you are perfect, how can you aspire to be any better? It's been one of the hardest things in my life keeping that secret from Andy, that in my eyes, he never could do wrong. The entire time I was pregnant with my children I prayed for a daughter because I truly believed I could never love a little boy the way I loved Andy. Of course O came and changed all that, and my heart grew.

I am who I am because of my brother. My husband married me knowing that we were a package deal. If he loved me, he loved Andy. I have never for one second ever regretted taking care of him. He has been one of the most wonderful parts of my life, an answered prayer. It was not a sacrifice or a labor of love. I was simply a sister who loved her brother. I prayed to God for him, and when God answers my prayers, I never take them for granted. As long as I have breath in my body, I will take care of him. I imagine in the years to come, I will have a wedding to help take care of and a ring to buy for his wife, one more thing I will take care of for our mother. A daughter keeps her promises after all.

Tomorrow I could say I was done. I did raise Andy and make sure he was taken care of till he was grown and most people would agree 21 is the age of maturity. However, Andy is just beginning his life. He is soon to become a man, although he already believes he is one. Though he walks with his head held high and thinks he has the world figured out, in my eyes he will always be a little boy, my Andy. I'll always be watching and waiting to catch him if he stumbles for the rest of my life, just like I did when he was little and I taught him to walk.

I have to go now. My Andy just walked in upstairs. I know that because I hear the squeals of my children. He has that affect on people.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It was the perfect day for a swimming party. The kids had a blast and O was super excited about their party.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

For her

Dear Kristiina,

Today our son turned 6 years old. I promised not to think of you until the sun went down. I wanted no sadness to mar his perfect day. As the sun began to set, my thoughts drifted to you, and I hoped that wherever you were that you were happy. I wished there was some way for you to know how wonderful today was for little Oskar. He laughed, he jumped, we sang to him, and it was everything he wanted his birthday to be. Maybe one day you will seek out info on perfect O, and maybe you'll find this letter floating through space and time and know that he is happy. Each day I give him everything I have, and I hug him twice as hard, so maybe it will be enough for both of us. Please know that for every tear you might have spilled, I probably cried along side of you. BUT I laugh harder too, I fight stronger, and I break all the rules. I do everything it takes to make sure that Oskar has what he needs, some of what he wants, and is always loved. Kristiina, he is so happy and taken care of. He goes on holidays, he swims underwater so well, and he runs and plays all the time. He is full of energy, and he is healthy and strong. His eyes are the most beautiful blue I have ever seen, and he is full of love. He has this huge imagination. He can take a piece of string and make a toy out of it. He believes that dinosaurs are real, gets excited every time he sees a star, and thinks that when the crickets chirp they are playing music. Oskar is full of life, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving him his start. Please know you are always in my thoughts, and I wish only the best for you.


Friday, July 9, 2010

The story of Devon, my story

Devon's story is not really mine to tell. However, he kept me awake last night, so you have to meet him. You have to see a little of what I saw, and you have to know him.

Devon is my friend Jane's son. He is the little boy in the picture with A.J. Devon has autism, down syndrome, and was born with the effects of fas and drug exposure. Before Jane found him, Devon was underestimated. As I said, most of his story is not mine to tell and if Jane doesn't want this out there, I will take it off, but I'll tell what I know.

Before Devon came to Jane a few years ago, he did not live life. He did not eat, play, laugh, and thrive. Jane did not take no for an answer and I imagine she did what she does, LIVE. She showed Devon a whole new world. The sky was the limit and Devon grew, changed, and learned.

We went to six flags for the 4th this year with Jane's family. In all we had 12 kids!!! Special needs is MY thing, so I was really looking forward to out meet up. Jane has 5 adopted kiddos with down syn and 3 bios. All of them were lovely and each as different as night and day. BUT Devon.....well, he just kind of took my heart, and A.J.'s too as you can see.

Jane is very different, and I like that about her. I don't imagine the kids hear about limitations often. Though it must be incredibly hard, she takes those kids EVERYWHERE. They do everything like boy and girl scouts, camping, vacations, eating out, everything. So when we got to the water park, I wanted Devon :) Some know that autism is my thing too, and finding that little peek inside is my specialty. I wanted to play with Devon, but I wasn't sure Jane would let me have him lol. After all, Devon did not know me and Jane and I had just met in person. Like I said though, Jane is different and such a wonderful mom. Devon went with me to the wave pool, and I tossed him into an inner tube and he LOVED it. He laughed and smiled, and when the big waves came he wasn't afraid at all. We must have spent 30 minutes in there and the more the better. Later I asked if I could take him on the water slide. She thought for a second and said okay if some one would catch him at the end. I'll admit I was scared. What if he got scared? He ended up loving it, even though he stopped half way down. Me and the life guard watched him for a few seconds and then he went the rest of the way down. They caught him at the end. He was like every other kid out there, having fun, being free.

Later that day we went to ride the roller coaster. I asked Devon if he was sure and he signed yes and yelled ya ya ya over and over. I'll admit, those coasters scare me and I screamed and screamed. Then I felt something on my back. It was Devon's hand, he was patting my back every time I yelled.

Devon is Devon, full of joy and happiness. He is loved, wanted, and just like every other child. Jane doesn't put limits on him, and to be honest, I don't think he knows he has any. That is what I loved so much about him. I loved being with him and felt very honored that I got to meet him.

Next time I get scared, I think I'll remember Devon patting my back and yelling ya ya ya.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My father

My father, Anthony Ciaramitaro III was born August 20th, 1947 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was born to Loyse and Anthony Ciaramitaro, a blue collar family. He was born in a time of reserved family structure and economic recovery after World War II. Men were returning home from the war, and women were intent on making a home and raising a family. Karl Marx’s communist principles were being fought against, and democracy was a proud and noble thing for all Americans. Unfortunately, this great American story would not follow the cultural norm for that day and time. It defied all logic and reason, and the birth of Anthony Ciaramitaro would change the world and people’s stereotypes for a lifetime.

After returning from the second wave of the D-day invasion, Anthony Ciaramitaro II married Loyse Smith in the fall of 1945. Anthony was not a wealthy man, but his family owned a grocery store, and he was proud he was able to take care of his wife. He was the son of dedicated Catholic Italian immigrants who came to this country in 1920. They came to pursue the American dream. In fact, owning their own business was one of the greatest accomplishments of their lives. Loyse wanted only to be a house wife and make Anthony proud by giving him a son. In that day and time women were not encouraged to work outside of the home, but Loyse did help out in the family grocery store from time to time. Loyse was raised a southern Baptist, yet she converted to Catholicism to be married in Anthony’s church. Perhaps this was not enough to forge a relationship with her in-laws, for they never quite got along. Still, Loyse was intent on being an agreeable wife and tried to be as polite to Anthony’s mother as possible.

Getting pregnant with their first child should have been a happy event for the young couple; instead the tears of happiness were mixed with sorrow as Anthony was diagnosed with a brain tumor within the same month. Medical treatment was not as sophisticated as it is today, and he died on the operating table in May of 1947. Loyse was terribly frightened and devastated, yet she had a piece of Anthony growing inside of her, so she struggled on. Anthony’s parents offered their daughter-in-law no help after the death of their son, but her mother moved in and they decided to raise the baby together after it came. August 1947 Anthony Ciaramitaro III was born with shock and awe. He came crying into the world 5 weeks premature and with what society called “physical handicaps”. Anthony’s arms were shorter than “normal” and he had only two fingers on each hand. His “birth defects” were very similar that of children born to mothers taking Thalidomide, but Loyse had not taken that medicine during pregnancy.

A child being born should be a joyous and wonderful occasion, and in many ways it was to Loyse. Little Anthony was born early, but he was healthy and reminded her very much of her late husband. Still Loyse’s mother-in-law was very insistent that Anthony have immediate surgery to try and correct his hands and arms. However, Loyse knew nothing could be done to change them and would have never risked her baby to even try. This young mother had already lost a husband on the operating table and was determined her son would not suffer the same fate. In the 1940’s children like these were often institutionalized, as they were not only though to be deficient in physical aspects but quite possibly mental faculties as well. In spite of this uncertainty, Loyse took her son home and set about raising him into a man.
Anthony was raised in a home with his mother and maternal grandmother. He was doted on and spoiled immensely. As much as she tried to shelter him, Loyse knew that when he was 6 he would need an education. In the 1950’s children who were victims of
polio were sent to Shriners schools where they were educated and protected from the stress and cruelties of society. Anthony was sent to school with these children. As we still see today, children are not as accepting of what is different, and it was thought to be in the best interest of these children to be separated instead of mainstreamed. Not to be outdone, Anthony excelled in academics and won many state awards for his grades and test scores. In the sixth grade Anthony came home and told his mother that he no longer wanted to go to the Shriners school; he was ready to be like everyone else. Today if a parent wants their child mainstreamed they work with the school and if it’s in the child’s best interests it happens. In 1958, a pediatrician had to write a letter and petition the school board to make this occur. However, Anthony’s pediatrician would not do this because he didn’t feel that this little boy could handle the stress. As always, everyone around him underestimated Anthony. He fought to win his doctor over, and out of sheer frustration the pediatrician gave in and wrote the letter. Anthony was moving ahead, and not much would stop him from there on out.

Anthony Ciaramitaro III was the first in his family to graduate from college. He attended on a full paid scholar ship and still brags today about the 31 he received on his ACT. He graduated Memphis State with a Bachelors of Engineering in Electrical Engineering and Bachelors in Business. He was the first one in his household to own a car and have a career. In many ways, he lived the American dream that his paternal grandparents came here in search of.

I met my father when I was two years old. My bio parents were going through a divorce, and Tony (his nickname) met my mother and they became friends. He still tells me today
that he fell in love with me first and then my mother later. What greater compliment could any daughter wish to hear? While my father was not very demonstrative with his affections, my brother, sister, and I always knew how much he cared for us.
In many aspects, my father’s life was very different from many families that he grew up along side. He was raised by a mother and grandmother, and never knew a father. His mother chose never to remarry or even date. She gave all of her attention to her son, yet he chose to eventually leave the nest and make a life for himself. This man who was not taught about fatherhood became a phenomenal dad. He had no rule book or experience to go by, just determination and love.

While my life has not been picture perfect, I feel that being raised by my father has armed me with the tools necessary to defy prejudices and stereotypes. My daughter was born when I was seventeen. I too had a full scholarship to college, though having my daughter made going to college directly out of high school not possible. My father never showed disappointment in my actions; instead he asked me what I was going to do to make my life better. Being his daughter, I knew that society could never limit what I was capable of. They would never categorize me, for if they did I would defy everything they thought. I went to nursing school, and for several years I did private duty nursing for developmentally delayed and differently abled children. I became my patient’s advocate when they could not speak for themselves. I fought for their rights and better care, like my father taught me to.

The last object of this paper is to tell to what extent I feel that I am a product of my family’s history. The only thing I can say is that I am my father’s daughter. I was raised
and loved by my hero. Anthony Ciaramitaro was not a saint; he was just a man. However, he taught me to live life without limitations and to exceed expectations. He lived an ordinary life extraordinarily. When I recount my family history, I am able to tell my children the story of a man who was born in a time when fear and ignorance was prevalent. Through my father, my daughters are able to see how far our society has come. They see more children in their schools with various impairments, and know that it was not always so easy to accomplish this. My father has taught them how much our culture has evolved in its way of thinking.

Monday, May 24, 2010


How do you go back to the person you were before? How do you think about buying a new car when you know the cost of one is equal to that of a child's life? How do you even think about buying a dooney and burke purse or dolce and gabbana pair of sunglasses(all things I was partial to) when you know how material things just don't matter anymore? How do explain that cruises and Hawaii vacations that used to be so important don't matter anymore at all? How do I get people to understand that nothing is the same for me? The way I see the world and the things that are important in my life have all shifted. How is it possible that a little 5 year old boy that can play with a straw or stick for hours and find joy has changed me this much? How can I get anyone to understand that I spent my life waiting to be his mother, and when that happened, everything that was once so dull came into focus. How can I be more patient and less judgemental with those who don't understand? How can I keep from screaming that the perfect healthy child is just a myth? We are all flawed, some of us just have our flaws written on paper. How do I admit to my husband that one of the reasons I keep O in private school is because it's only a few streets away from my work and it makes me ill to think of him being too far away? Will anyone understand that when he is with me, I feel whole, as if what I was searching for my entire life was just waiting in Estonia to be found? When I look at my children all together I know that it was meant to be exactly like this. I know who I am, and I am becoming who I want to be, and each day I have to pinch myself because God loves me so very much.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Just pictures

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's day

This day has always held a little sadness for me. When I was growing up, my mother refused to let us celebrate it or do anything for her. That was just the way she was, her b-day was the same. By the time I became a mother, I had also lost my own. So each year, though I adore my babies, I have just a little twinge that I never had a mother to buy flowers or a card for. I never had anyone to take out for a special lunch or all that stuff that seems to go on. I did have a dear friend for several year I bought a card for. We fell out of touch a while back though.

Still, my children did their best to make today special for me, and they did very well. Miri got up and made me breakfast, A.J. is still asleep but she assured me she had pictures she drew for me, and O made me a lovely stepping stone with his name and hand print engraved. Andy even came over and wants to eat lunch just the two of us some time this week. So all in all, I'd say my kiddos made me feel very special and loved.

However, my heart still hurts a little as I think about O's mother. I think about all she is missing and wonder if she just puts it out of her mind, or if mother's day causes her pain. I wish their was some way for me to tell her what a wonderful little boy our son is. I wish she knew that he gives the best kisses and hugs around. His laughter could cheer the saddest day, and his heart is bigger than anyone I know. More than all of that, I wish she knew that someone across the world held her in their prayers and loves her very much. Whether intentional or not, she gave me a pretty amazing gift.

Happy mother's day to all those mommas out there. Whether you have your babies near, whether they appreciate you, or whether you can squeeze them anytime you want, being a mother is the most precious of all things. Only a mother could admit to the courts that she wanted another chance to raise her son but knew he was better off being adopted. Only a mother would give up every dream she had to fly across the world and bring her son home. Only a mother would become a woman at the age of 17 and raise a child no one thought she could. Only a mother would make her daughter promise at the age of 12 to finish raising her brother when his mother was gone. Only a mother would put a child's needs before her own and do it gladly. Being a mother comes at a great price, and to do it well, it takes everything a woman has. No one writes the rule book, and it takes about 18 years to perfect the task and then it does not even seem like it's half way done. Hug your babies and thank God for them. They are only little for a small time.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Thanks for all the kind comments. Most of the time I keep rolling and do very well, but I guess everyone has their bad days. Anywho, I finally got some sleep, and that alone makes me feel much more human. We are also trying to make plans for some sort of vacation this summer. I don't vacation well, so I have been told. I like everything planned ahead of time. I get up between 5 and 6 on vacation days. It drives me crazy that some people see vacation as just a time to sleep till 10. Why should I pay for a trip when we could just stay home and sleep in for free?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sometimes I wonder if I can do anything right. I want to do it all, and I just can't. Andy thinks I am an old fuddy duddy. Yes, that is what I said. He does. Apparently everyone in my life thinks I am too judgmental, too religious, and I'm not any fun. Even perfect O's screeching is giving me headaches. A.J. is super jealous lately and feels like she is not the baby anymore. Miri is just Miri. She is always trying to grow up and not stopping to enjoy being a child. MY spouse, is well my spouse for all intents and purposes. I used to write grand things and letters about him, but one day I woke up and realized my personal relationship was not for public consumption, so you'll probably never see me go there. I will say it would be nice to have a little help every now and then. When I mention that, he offers to hire someone to help with the kids or clean the house. Enough said about that huh?? Sigh. Most of the time I really try and stay optimistic. I really do. Sometimes though, I hit a wall, have a migraine, and then it just feels like it's all too much. Tomorrow everything will be better though. I'll wake up to O's big smile, A.J. will come down and tell me she has brushed her teeth, and Miri will ask for money for something. I'll get a load of laundry done, maybe cook, a meal, the house will be in order, and I will have worked a full work week. That's what makes me happy, running like hell, doing too much, and every once in a while, saving the world before bedtime, my world.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

So it's been rumored that some believe that O is my new found favorite. Of course anyone who REALLY knows me sees that that is not possible. I am good at one thing, and that is love. I'm not the kind of person that would ever favor one child over another. My heart is big enough for all of my children, and each is special in their individual way.

Here's the deal though. I'm not entirely sure I knew what love could be until Oskar came home. When you have a biological child you bond and fight for them. It begins int he womb. You nourish your body and do the best to make sure everything is as perfect as it can be.

When you adopt, you start out behind the 8 ball. Often, you know your child was neglected before they even made it into the world. Yet, you jump in heart first and decide you will make up for everything. You set out to earn your child's respect and love. You are determined to prove you will always be there for them and even though they tell you it's not possible, you try and make up for lost time. You cuddle, baby, and dream of all those moments you were not there for.

All in all though, there are so many adoption stories floating around. There are two schools of thought I have found. 1 is to be realistic and share the good and bad. Others like me forget about the bad and just roll on. Neither are right and wrong and both sides certainly need to be shared. Adoption is not all roses. Children don't act perfectly all the time. Still, I did not really care about much of that. I wanted my child home. I promised God I would deal with anything if he just got my baby home. So when he did, it was good enough for me. I got through the first month of exhaustion and adjustment, and life just moved right on for me.

Still I had my little suspicions and nagging theories about all this love stuff. I wanted to think I loved my bio kids for their own worth and merit. However, they were mine, half of me, so did I see them through rose colored glasses? Was it possible for me to overlook their imperfections and see them as little people? Did I choose to love them, or was I born to love them? I was pretty sure love was a choice up to that point, but I was not certain.

Then, a little Eesti prince came in and rocked my whole world. Don't you see? HE did not have to love ME. Of course I was going to love my son, that's all I do right, love. Still, there were no guarantees about his feelings toward me. Make no mistake though, I went in prepared for him not to bond, and for me to earn his love. I was willing to take as much time as needed. After all, I took him away from everything and one he ever knew. I did not speak his language, cook his food, or truly know what was going though his precious little mind and heart.

With all that being said, he gave me one month of hell, and then he jumped right into my arms and never looked back. He told me he was mine. He waits at the window and waves goodbye each and every day I drop him off at school. He picks me flowers. He kills bugs for me. He rubs my head when it hurts. He jumps up and down if I buy him a pair of shoes. He's trying to let me teach him how to dance. He tells me to drive faster and laughs the whole time. He lets me rock him and cuddle him. He often runs and jumps into my arms. You know what? I totally forgot that I have a bad back and God willing until I can't lift him, he will be able to be carried as much as he wants.

This perfect little boy had every reason in the world not to give me a chance. He did not know me. He did not know what mothers are or what families can be. He could have chosen fear, and in the beginning he chose anger. I have many holes in the walls to prove that. A lot of the rules did not make sense. Maybe I am naive or as my other half says, trying to save the world. Still, I did not mind the holes. I did not mind the anger. He had the right to feel the way he did. I had faith. I knew it would pass, and it quickly did.

Something clicked in my son's mind and heart. Something told him that he was mine and I belonged to him. He managed to overlook my flaws as a mother and a person in general, and he gave his entire heart over to me. He could have held a grudge. He could have longed for his friends, the orphanage, or what he always knew. Instead he chose to look forward and accept me as he mother and that he was finally home. This was about the time he started asking why he wasn't in family pictures and where were his baby pictures.

Nothing much mattered about the past after that. 18 months of pain, trials, and every cent I could scrounge up was forgotten. I was in love. I had totally fallen in love with my son, and he with me. Each day we learned more about each other, and many times laughed at our differences. I still try and get him to eat pizza and he laughs and tries to make me eat cucumbers. We take it one day at a time, but we take the road together.

My son teaches me to love each day that he draws a breath. He teaches me that blood, distance, and contrast makes no difference. He chooses to love me and accept me as his own. So I learn to love from a child. I learn to accept that Santa is real, mothers never leave, and unconditional love is possible. I learn to hold tighter, stress less, and maybe just hang a picture on the wall over some holes. What are a few holes anyway? After all, I had a rather large one in my heart for the 18 months it took to bring him home.

Make no mistake. I know worth when I see it. My son has more love in him than anyone I have ever met. I choose to accept the gift I have been given and will allow myself to be taught, even if it is by a child.

Oskar is not my favorite. To tell the truth, I think I am his.......................

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


We committed to Oskar 4/08. Unlike many others, we were fortunate and several other adoptive families had already met our son. I received pictures and of course the inevitable, he is adorable. Yea, I know my son is the next Calvin Klein model. Still, I did not really know much about him at all. I really knew nothing about Estonia either. In February 2009, all that was about to change.

Another wonderful family was adopting their sons from the same orphanage as Oskar, actually the same groupa. They said that one of the caregivers named Raili wanted my email so she could tell me about Oskar. WOW! I thought for sure I was going to stop breathing. Our agency had gotten me no updates on him at all. I had not even received a medical up to this point! I looked up Estonian people. I looked up Estonian etiquette. I was petrified. What if I said the wrong thing? What if Raili did not like me? What if she did not think I was good enough for Oskar? After all, sometimes I still wonder if I am good enough for him.

Those first few emails I was treading on ice. I did not want to appear to greedy for info, but I was dying to ask a million questions. Raili hung in there like a champ. She answered each and every one. No question was too silly. Nothing I wanted to know was too small. From February to November I was able to get to know my son through Raili. Oskar was also able to get to know us as well. Raili told him about our family and home and told him he would be going on a plane ride to America. She also let me send him a birthday present. Oh how I grieved missing his 5th birthday. Only money stopped me from flying over there to be with him.

Nothing prepared me for meeting Raili though. Everyone says that Estonian people are reserved. Raili wasn't. It was as if I had already met her, and she was so kind. Oskar ran and got the present we had sent him and came right up to me. He was not shy at all. He hugged me too. That meant the world to me. I just wanted to touch him. I knew everything in the world would be okay if I could just touch him.

Saying goodbye to Raili was one of the hardest things I ever did. As we walked out of the orphanage she asked for a moment alone with Oskar. I could hardly swallow at that point in time. It was as if I could feel her pain. As she walked us to the car, the last thing she said was, "take care of him". I told her I would. I saw the tears in her eyes and as we drove off, the tears fell down my husband's and my face.

There is nothing I will ever be able to do for or give Raili to repay her for what she gave me. She loved my son, and that is more than I could have ever hoped for. He was taken care of, prepared for a family, and thrived because of her. I know it could not have been easy for her to see him drive away and fly to the other part of the world. I have Raili on facebook and she has my blog address too. I post pictures for her. I want her to know that I am taking care of him. I want her to know that he is okay. I want her to know that he is my everything and she will always mean the wold to me too. Thank you Raili for taking care of my son until I could bring him home. Thank you for loving him when I could not. Thank you for being a good person and making an 18 month wait more bearable.

Raili, I am taking care of him. He will always have the best. He will always be loved, wanted, and treasured. God willing, he will live a LONG healthy, and happy life, and one day you will see him again. Hopefully he will visit Estonia one day proud of where he came from and know that someone from his home land loved him and wanted him to have the best.

Monday, March 29, 2010

O and dad riding the train at the zoo.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What is love?

When I was a little girl, I often misunderstood the whole concept of love. Too often I heard those words spoken by my mother after a fight or thrown at me as a sort of apology. As far as my father was concerned, those words were entirely misused by people. Most times when I told him I loved him, I could see him cringe. For some reason those little words made him uncomfortable. He often told me to show him I loved him instead of saying it. So it did not take long for me to try and find other ways to communicate to him how much I adored him.

When I was 12 I decided to learn how to iron my dad's clothes. My mother had never done that, so I had very little guidance in that chore. I failed miserably when I chose to use the cotton setting on his silk shirt his deceased and adored grandmother had bought him. This act stands out in my memory because I am certain that was the first time I learned what earthly love was all about. I waited for my father to come home from work, and I had the shirt in my hand. I was scared to death and truly wanted to die. I waited for my father to yell, cry, or something. Instead he told me we needed more dishtowels anyway and said he wasn't mad at all. Nothing was ever said again about the matter. I think I knew in that instant that my father loved me. Though he never used those words, I never doubted it again. That was just how my dad was. He was never quick to anger, always willingly to listen, and I could tell him anything.

As some already know, I met my father when I was 2 years old. My mother was quite the woman to live with, and I remember asking him a few times why he chose her and why he stayed. He said he fell in love with me first, and then my mother. Those were the only times I heard that 4 letter word directed at me. What words for a daughter to hear. My father made every school conference, picked me up from school functions, and whenever I needed him, he would offer his ear. I don't recall him ever treating me like a child either. He believed that people would rise to what was expected of them, so he gave me respect, and in turn he received it back from me.

When Andy was born, I was pretty sure that my father would love him more because he was his biological son. I was used to being my mother's favorite, whatever that meant, and I already knew I was loosing that place. My mother had wanted a son her entire life, and when Andy came he quickly became the jewel of her eye. My dad adored him as well, but I never felt slighted by him. He must have told me and my sister a thousand times that he felt no differently about Andy than he did us. Besides we all adored Andy so much, it would not have mattered anyway. It was our whole family's goal to see that boy had everything he wanted and needed.

So, I come back around full force into my initial question about the definition of love. Of course, when that words creeps up, I can not help but think about my Oskar. I think about how people wonder if an adopted child could be loved as much as a biological child. Then I remember a little girl standing in the kitchen with a scorched silk shirt waiting for her father with tears in her eyes. I remember Andy coming home from the hospital and watching to see if my father loved him more. Then I feel really silly and I remember those words spoken long ago, " Shea Elizabeth, I probably should have walked away a long time ago, but I just could not leave you. I fell in love with you first and then your mother."

Love has no biological ties. Love doesn't have to be so hard. Love is a choice, a commitment. Love is hearing a man say he never had to stay, but he wasn't walking out on his daughter, his daughter by heart, not blood. Do I love Oskar as much as my other children? Hell Yes. After all, I am my father's daughter.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

We spent the most beautiful day a the park today. O says it is hot outside. Poor buddy does not realize that 68 degrees is not very warm. He loves being outside and playing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Summer is coming! I can feel it in the air. I could happily skip right over spring and hit the hot months willingly, though I look forward to my garden. Things on the home front are going well. The kiddos are their normal spoiled selves lol. Work is work, I'm not going further on that topic. Our fence is supposed to be put in this week, and I am super excited about that!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The rest of the bunch

So here is a quick re cap of the on goings in the Drummond house.

Andy: Poor bubba has broken up with his girlfriend. I am still hoping that he focuses more on school and less with the ladies. Don't know if that is going to happen though. School is going well for him though, and he works full time as a manager at a restaurant.

Miri: As always the princess of the house pushes herself to be the best. Her grades had slipped the last year. I told her it was fine because she was taking difficult classes. B's are fine if that is the best she can do. She did not like that so she is now trying to make all A's lol. That's my girl. She is also about to start back at soccer.

A.J. : Ms. priss has decided to boycott homework, and being the bad mom I am, I decided to let her face the consequences and not push her. 14 responsibility marks later, she has decided she needs to try harder and is reading again. Does anyone see a pattern here? My kids generally have to decide to do the right thing by themselves. She is finally is size 7 clothes and loves playing with our new puppy, a yorkie poo named Carly.

Oskar : Little man has developed a love for strawberry ice cream and will even let me lick his cone. He hates pizza, loves mexican, and begs me to roll the windows down in the car and drive fast. He also thinks that summer is here since it got up to 65 degrees the other day. He has also requested we buy a faster car and I purchase him his own cell phone. In the last two weeks he has thrown away all the toothpaste, and I am trying to get to the bottom of that. Mt suspicion is that to him, brushing teeth at night means magamaw(bedtime) and he thinks if he doesn't brush his teeth, he won't have to go to bed. Also, he has become quite the lady's man. He can turn on the charm something fierce, and I know I have trouble coming. He is a looker too, so will watch out and have the baseball bat ready.

Monday, February 22, 2010

57 things about me

I borrowed this from Christine's blog. Her answers are in the link above.

1. Shea was from a lawyer friend who got my hell raising hippie dad out of trouble.

2. My mother was as wild as they came. She dated bikers, drank, smoked(not just cigarettes either lol). Most of that was before I was born, most of it.

3. My mother wanted me to be different than her. She sent me to a strict Pentecostal school as a child. I did not get to wear pants until I was 9 and went to public school.

4. I have no contact with any of my bio family other than my brother whom I raised.

5. I only knew my bio grandmother. My paternal grandparents passed away before I was born and my maternal grandfather left when my mom was 2 and she never saw him again.

6. My grandmother was adopted from an orphanage in Memphis tn when she was 4. She never had any desire to find her bio family. She adored her adoptive father.

7. Alcohol has little effect on me, so I choose to rarely drink.

8. I learned to swim when I was 12 by jumping in the deep end of a pool and hoping for the best.

9. When I was 5 my mom bought me a real ruby ring. I lost it by pretending to get married to a neighborhood boy. She offered all the kids $50 if they found it, but no one did :(

10. I am a Christian

11. I was baptized when I was 18.

12. I adore buttered popcorn salt taffy, but I can't find it anymore.

13. I love the beach and mountains.

14. I'm always cold.

15. Pink Floyd is my favorite band.

16. I never have any money in my wallet.

17. I want to write a book.

18. I believe that my children will change the world and make it a better place.

19. My kids stick up for anyone getting picked on.

20. I've been with my husband since I was 16, and that's a long time, really long time.

21. I would have been a better single person. I'm hard to live with.

22. Everything is black and white to me. Right is right, and wrong is wrong.

23. I seriously considered giving my first daughter up for adoption and had a family picked out for her. I was 16 when I got pregnant with her.

24. I think about that family a lot and hope they were able to be parents.

25. I was so scared I would not be good enough for my daughter. I wanted her to have the best. She is the best daughter anyone could want.

26. She thinks I am too hard on her.

27. I am, but I promised God when she was born that I would raise her to love him and obey him.

28. My daughter still doesn't know her own worth. Sometimes I dream of her being able to see the beauty in her like I do. She is such a good person and so much stronger than me.

29. I was scared something would go wrong during my whole preg. with A.J. I just did not think I could be lucky enough to have two healthy daughters.

30. I want to go to Italy. That is the only place in Europe I ever wanted to go.

31. I love anything covered in gravy.

32. I need a red corvette. Every time I get close to affording one, I have another child.

33. If A.J. was a boy she would have been named corvin lol.

34. I am really good at rummy.

35. I wanted to be in the peace corp when I was younger.

36. I'm not sure I am going to let my kids date. I see nothing wrong with them waiting until they are 18.

37. I like to cook with my kids.

37. I have talks with the kids about politics, taxes, and all sorts of things.

38. I can't live without my fax machine. I use it all the time.

39. I really like my job, and I think I am pretty decent at it too.

40. I never pay full price for anything.

41. I could eat pasta every day.

42. Soul food is my favorite type of food. Nothing beats fried yam patties and a corn bread pancake.

43. I don't pay attention to race very much though it seems the world does.

44. I hate reverse racism and affirmative action. I think they are the same thing.

45. I miss Memphis and how it smells on a summer night.

46. I think God is up there shaking his head at us. He gave us a rule book and we still mess it up.

47. I sang karaoke on Beale street many years ago. I was scared to death. I sang a r&b song by Kelly Price.

48. I want to move to Arizona or Florida.

49. I miss my husband every second that he is away from me. I wish he felt the same way.

50. I teach my kids that a person does not have to be married to be happy.

51. I would not be disappointed at all if my kids chose to be single.

52. They know I only have one request of them. If they marry, marry a Christian.

53. I refuse to use one of those straightening thingies on my hair. It's too much work and they look really weird. I got what God gave me. It's as straight as he wants it.

54. I sleep on my side and never facing anyone.

55. I take really hot baths.

56. I just recently started liking the color brown.

57. I make no apologies for what I believe. I am who I am. If someone doesn't like me, I could care less. I worked really hard to be this screwed up, and I like myself just fine. It took me 31 years to figure this out.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

O continues to do very well. He had steak during the superbowl and LOVED it. I think he would eat it every day if I could afford to feed it to him. HE has grown 2 centimeters in height but not gained any weight. Personally I think he runs everything off. In a few months he will be evaluated for adhd. His little body is so excited all the time, and he literally bounces off the walls. We have been off school for several days due to the snow and he misses his routine as well. The girls are doing well in school and love their brother very much. We are all eagerly awaiting spring and the banishment of this Siberia type weather!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My husband is getting me a dog for Valentines. He doesn't know that I know though. Yes, it was a dog I asked for about 4 or 5 years ago, but I have since gotten two dogs. I only do rescue dogs, and this is one he has bought, so I am not sure how I feel about this. I really have enough between 4 kids, 2 dogs, 1 hermit crab, working full time, and keeping up with everything around here. I told him for the last year that I did not EVER want to add another dog to this family. Two is plenty, and besides, Wendy my beagle/basset has issues getting along with other dogs anyway. It's a delicate mix getting our two to get along and this is all just driving me NUTS. Oh, did I mention it's a puppy. Unlike most women I don't like puppies or babies. I love dogs and I love kids, I just don't like them when they are little. I mean I like them in small increments. I recently baby sat for Andy's girlfriend, and it was my idea. Her little baby was great, but it was also nice to send him home after about 5 hours. If I could give birth to children when they were about 4 years old, I would have 12 of them by now. I really can not see any way out of this. If I tell him no I hurt his feelings. If I keep it, I'll be more nuts than I already am.......... Why can't men ever get it right? He could have made a donation to reecesrainbow and it would have made me so happy. P.S. if any of you women readers out there want to tell me how perfect your hubbies are, please don't lol.
From New Years!

Yesterday after making snow cream

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The things they never tell you about adoption

When you first begin the process of adoption, you begin being educated. In order to pass a home study and be Hague qualified, prospective parents take many hours of classes on children. A good portion always deals with bonding. They warn you that it takes time and patience to bond. There are always suggestions on how to facilitate the process and make things easier. Mostly though I remember my classes as well as other parents warning me about the unknowns. We are all told that their will be unexpected health issues, behavior problems, and not to loose faith. For certain adoption is HARD. Nothing ever goes as planned. Paperwork is lost, things are left out, and it ALWAYS costs more that what they tell you. No one tells you that last part though lol.

So going into adoption and having been fully warned, I took everything I heard with a grain of salt. The only thing I knew for certain was that my son had a smile that could charm a serpent and that God brought me to him. I came with very little expectations. I wanted only one thing, and that was to let him know that I accepted him on his terms and for who he was.

I worked my ass off trying to learn Eesti because how could I expect a child to learn my language without giving him the same respect? I can truly say that I know as much Eesti as he does English. It's not a lot, but I did try. No told me to do that, I just wanted to.

So this brings me back to my title, what they don't tell you. So I told you how I was forewarned about everything, but there was so much that got left out. No one told me that I could love like this. No one told me that seeing my son smile even after 2 months would take my breath away. No one told me that I would think my son was the most handsome boy in the world. No one told me that he would try to buy me flowers, carry my groceries, or warn me to turn on my windshield wipers at the first sign of rain drops. No one told me that a 5 year old boy would crawl up in my lap, give me Eskimo kisses, and nuzzle his head against my neck. No one told me that even when he acted up or misbehaved that I really would not care.

No one told me in less than 3 months I could love like this. I was not warned that it would feel like he has always been here. No one told me that I would walk through hell if it meant making him happy. Most of all, I was not told that it was possible that he could really love me so soon. With all the warnings about bonding, I never knew that he would hold me so tight, squeal even when I came back in the room 5 minutes later, or that he would let me rock him and tell him that he belongs to me and I to him. No one told me he would smile each time I said, "Oskar Daniel you are mine".

The most important thing that has stayed consistent is that all of this was meant to be. From the beginning I knew my son was born on the other side of the world. I was born to be his mother, and he was waiting for me to bring him home. From the moment I saw his picture I have belonged to Oskar. He is my heart, and on the hardest of days, he makes it all okay. All of my children are treasured gifts, and each of them thank me for their brother often. I never knew it would feel so right. I never knew a little boy could change my world the way he did. I do not worry the way I used to. I do not stress about money or bills. Most of all I am not afraid. My Oskar is not afraid, so I try hard to be strong like my son. He makes me a better person, wife, and mother. He is everything I wanted and exactly what I needed.