August 31, 2010

A New Name Is On Its Way

I've been thinking about changing the name of this blog for a long time.  First of all- it doesn't really even have a name.  When I started this thing a year ago, I never in a zillion years thought anyone would even read it.  So now- after a year of blogging- this blog will finally get a name.  We will now be...

Millions of Miles

I chose this name for many reasons.  One of our children's names is Miles (duh!) but this blog is not all about him.  It is about all of us.  We are all in this together.  I think that "Millions of Miles" represents how far we've come as a family and how far we've yet to go.  We'll always be on the continuum of that journey- with some behind us and so much ahead of us.  I think that name represents that.

So much of my heart will always be with the orphans of Congo.  There are nearly five million orphans still in Congo that need families.  My baby used to be one of those.  The new name honors the millions of orphans, just like my Miles, that are still there...waiting...  I see those children's faces in my sleep.  I stare at their pictures.  I don't want to forget to do my part to continue to advocate for them. 

With the new name, will come a few changes.  We'll be getting a new look ( a little face lift of sorts) with our new name in the coming days so stay tuned...

August 30, 2010

I See The Light- 6 Month Update

Last week we celebrated Miles being home for six whole months.  In so many ways that 1/2 year just flew by.  And in other ways it just creeped by as the most agonizing time in my whole life. 

For the last six months, I felt like I didn't know my head from my behind.  All of that chaos resulted in me having to be medicated.  Yep- I'm not afraid to admit it.  My reaction to child number three (note I said my reaction, not my child) threw my life into such a tailspin I called and begged for antidepressants.  And now that they've kicked in (I think I'm a kinder, gentler version of me!) and I've had some space to reflect, I think I'm ready to give a better assessment as to how our lives are going. (Oh,God- did you hear that... It's the fallout I'll probably now experience after just admitting to the world that I had to go on meds! Be nice and keep those mean comments to yourself, please!)

I'm going to be brutally honest and say that at the three, four, and five months marks, I wasn't sure if we were going to make it.  Being rejected by my own son 92.4% of the time had eaten away at any shred of self esteem I had left.  I felt like such a failure as a mother.  I knew it was bad when I was trying to comb Miles' hair out and he was screaming and kicking like usual and Noah (age 3) walked by and said, "Mommy, I'm sorry that Miles doesn't like you."  I was sorry too.   I was sorry that I was taking out my constant rejection by Miles on my husband.  I was sorry that Miles was so time consuming that I had very little left for my other children.  I found that I just counted the hours down until I got to put Miles down for a nap and then counted down the hours again until I could put him to bed.  I was feeling sorry for myself- but more than anything, I was MAD at myself.  I am a mother.  In my mind being a mother means loving your children unconditionally.  I hated myself that my attitude about Miles was so dependent on him reciprocating that love.   But folks, it is hard to keep up a relationship when the love only flows one way.  I could reason with myself that the child has been through A LOT.  I knew that he had every right to be distrustful of me.  I knew that teaching a child how to be a part of a family would be hard work.  But I never for one second thought about how that would make me feel.  Just FYI- it felt like being hit in the heart by a bus- 20 times every day.  Every time my son wanted a perfect stranger to hold him instead of me- BAM.  Every time he would get hurt and would refuse to let me love and cuddle him- BAM.  Every time he would act super sweet and cute in front of our family and make me look insane- BAM. For me, all the hurt in my heart just turned into bitter resentment.  I'm not proud of that, but it's the truth.

And then New York happened.  My trip to New York was so last minute.  It was one last effort to get myself together.  I got on that plane and for the first time in months, I just felt free.  Maybe at just that moment, my antidepressants finally kicked in or something, but whatever it was- just having a little space felt sooooo good!  I got in bed at night and actually made it through my prayers for the first time in a long time without falling asleep or losing focus.  I prayed for my son.  I prayed for myself.  I prayed that something would happen to make my family feel whole again.  I prayed that I would lose the anger I felt at Miles for the things that he could in no way control.  I prayed that I would lose my expectations and just learn to live in the moment and learn to find the joy in raising my three bambinos again.

My plane landed back down in Kentucky and I braced myself.  I thought that the fallout from Miles for my being gone for four days would be astronomical.  But by some miracle- just the opposite happened.  He hugged me.  He loved on me.  He said "mommy" in his cute Swahili accent a hundred times.  He was nicer to his brothers and sisters.  The violent behaviors just stopped.  He was downright just likeable and lovable to the nth degree.  He has relied on me.  He has depended on me. He wants to hold my hand while we walk down the street.  Leaving Miles for those four days turned out to be the most amazing lifesaver for our relationship.  I think the boy actually missed me.  And maybe when he had some space to breath he maybe just realized that being here and being loved and having a family is not so bad after all.  I am not saying that the clouds parted and the angels started singing or anything, because he still has his moments.  I also know that true healing is two steps forward and one step back.  I am not naive enough to think that he is all fixed!  But overall, there is light back in his eyes.  And that has put light back in my eyes.  And that put light back in my husband's eyes.  And our little family seems to be back and running on all cylinders.  Amazing. (Now maybe we can stop spending our life's savings on therapists!!!)

After going round and round with the state for months about Miles' age, he will finally get to start early intervention therapy next week.  We've lost a lot of time trying to cut through the red tape, but we kept fighting for it and I can't wait to see how he blossoms with the private therapy for five hours a week.  He will even be getting his own psychologist.  This mama is pumped about that! 

He is doing so much better in the last several weeks with trying to communicate.  We stopped letting him communicate with grunts and screaming.  He knows the words and signs for eat and drink.  So we knew that if he was hungry he had the ability to communicate that to us effectively- no excuses.  I finally had to get hard core.  When he would start standing at the counter and screaming and pointing and going nuts- despite the fact that I knew what he wanted- I refused to give him a snack until he would effectively communicate with words or signs what he wanted. I would completely ignore the undesirable behavior.  At first it seemed cruel to me, but I realized that Miles was thriving on keeping me in a state of chaos.  When I got firm and made it clear that he could not rule by terror, it was amazing how quickly the child learned to say "eat" when he hungry instead of yelling.

We did the same thing with discipline.  For most adopted children, "time outs" make them feel ostracised and like they are being excluded from the family.  That is not at all what we wanted to convey to Miles, but at the same time, the boy needed to know that he could not try to beat up his siblings.  For months, whenever Miles got violent, I would get down on his level, hold his arms down and calmly explain about how we don't hurt other people.  That was stupid, stupid, stupid!  All that Miles got from that was- "if I get a pan out of the cabinet and I beat my brother over the head with it, my mom will pay attention to me!  She will look at me and she will touch me and I will get all kinds of attention!  I'm going to keep doing this!"  I am not sure why that didn't click sooner!  We set up the playpen in the middle of the living room and when Miles would get violent, I picked him up backwards so that we weren't even looking at each other.  I didn't say a word to him.  He got no attention from me. I just placed him in the playpen and walked away. He was in the same room as everyone (so that he was still a part of our family) but he got no positive reinforcement for the behavior.  Amazingly- this tactic only took 3 days of doing until 95% of the violence stopped in our home. 

We are still dealing with the trauma triggers, but the attachment aspect of this crazy journey is getting better every single day. Miles is truly beginning thrive and we are starting to find our groove as a family of five.  Miles is becoming quite the jokester.  He's still the entertainer in every crowd.  He is still the flirt in a room full of women- teenage girls are his specialty. 

That boy is going to do amazing things.  I just know it.  I see his huge smile full of those gleaming white teeth and I am just so grateful for him- just as he is; trauma, hurt, and all.  On his six month's home anniversary, I wrote as my facebook status, "Happy 6 months home, Miles Dieudonne.  We are so glad you are part of our family."  It felt so good to be able to write that and mean it.  It feels so good that for the last month Miles wants me around.  It feels so good that he wants to hug me and that he needs me.  From the first moment I saw him, I knew that he was meant to be my child.  But it feels SO good to finally feel like he is my child.  And you know what? I think he finally feels like he is my child.

Thank you, Jesus, that even though many people, including me, have failed my child- they have not extinguished the desires in his heart to love and be loved.  Thank you for the reminder that even though I fail you miserably over and over again, that you do not give up on me.  Thank you for showing me again what unconditional love is all about.  Amen.

August 26, 2010

What We've Been Up To

It feels like we've been running at a break-neck pace all summer long and it doesn't seem like we've slowed down too much since school started.   I find that Miles is sooooo much better when we are out and about and have a lot of things going on instead of just being at home together all day.  Here's a little bit of what we've been up to.  Sorry for the crummy quality pics- they are almost all camera phone photos :-(

We went on a long road trip to St. Louis to visit Kamron's mother and grandparents.

The grandparents have a great park right next to their house. 


We had Sadie's best friend Alexis over to play almost every afternoon and they did a lot of carrying Miles around in a basket.


We met up with my dear friend Sandy and let our kids wear themselves out jumping on the bouncers and playing mini golf.  They used to be our next door neighbors and I miss walking across the back yard for gossip like nobody's business. 


We took Miles for more repeat blood work.  We got smart this time and sent him back with a child therapist instead of me going to the procedure room with him.  Worked SO much better!  So Noah and I waited in the waiting room and our time there literally made him climb the walls.



We spent several afternoons killing time at Target in the toy department.  Playing with fun stuff for free totally rocks!  Lucky for me, my children have not yet figured out that they can actually ask to buy stuff here.  Wonder how much longer we can pull that one off.


This pretty, little lady had to have a cavity filled.  Boo.


We went to go visit Papaw Gary after he had surgery.  Thank you Lord that he is recovering well and that none of the crazy kids kicked him in the stitches!


We went to the zoo with my Granny Sadie and our cousin Julia.  We all had a ball!  Aren't Noah and Julia so cute holding hands walking through the zoo?




And somehow over the last two weeks, Miles managed to get even cooler than he already was.


It's been a wonderful couple of weeks.  I am so grateful for all the time we've gotten to spend with our amazing friends and family.  But I am tired and ready to spend a few days just doing nothing!  Come on weekend- you can't get here soon enough!

August 25, 2010

News of the Weird

I'll just start out by saying that I can not burp.  Not that I don't burp, but that I can't burp. I've never been able to.  It is a curse of epic proportions.  Obviously the burping gene just skipped right over me because my mother used to be able to burp nearly the whole alphabet. (Sorry Mom!)

Because of this crazy non-belching phenomenon I've got going on in this ol' body, I've been known to have some killer heartburn.  I mean B.A.D. heartburn.  I've had an ulcer from it.  Once I even got the hiccups for three straight days from bad indigestion.  It happened when Kamron and I were first dating and he offered to take me to the emergency room for my hiccups and I thought he just dripped with cuteness.

Usually I just take the indigestion, chug a little Maalox and roll with it.  But the other day, I got it really bad.  I chugged the Maalox and it just kept getting worse and worse.  Then it started coming in waves and getting unbearable. I couldn't stand up or talk through the pain.  All of a sudden a thought popped into my head- "Oh dear God! I'm in labor. How did I not know I was pregnant".  I swear, I thought I was having contractions.  Then I got ticked at myself for thinking that drinking champagne for breakfast in New York City was a good idea while I was evidently preggers.

Miles was sleeping and I was in such pain that I sent Sadie and Noah two doors down the street to play at the neighbors.  I sat down on the couch and just flat out went into panic mode thinking about how in the hell I was going to give birth to a baby in my living room.

I have watched those ridiculous shows on TLC about the wack-a-doo women who go in the bathroom and sit down and a baby falls out into the toilet and they're all like, "Hey! Wait! Where did this baby come from?  I had no idea I was pregnant!"  I have made fun of these people to no end.  Because really- who doesn't realize that they are nine months pregnant? My mom is a labor and delivery nurse and from her horror stories- I just figured that the women on the shows like this are completely mental and delusional.  Flash forward to the other day when I was on the couch in agony and thinking I was in the throws of labor.  I was repenting for ever making fun of those redonkulous women, because I was just convinced I was going to join their ranks in a matter of moments. 

I started to break out into a sweat and wondered if I ought to call my mom to come and deliver my baby.  For some dumb reason, it never occurred to me that maybe I should call my husband and tell him that all of a sudden I was with child and that said child was about to make it's grand entrance.  I am pretty sure that little tidbit would have freaked him all the way out.  That, or he would have called the mental institution and made arrangements to have me committed.  I decided to just sit there and try to belly breath through the pain.  Then I started wondering if I should try to get some towels and boil some water.  Then I started wondering what I would actually do with the boiling water once I got it boiled.  Why in the world do people boil water on TV when they are getting ready to have a baby???

The pain was still getting worse.   I thought I was going to split in two and an alien was going to pop out of me. The pain was starting to make me feel like I needed to moan.  Finally- I'm embarrassed to say, I moaned.  And it helped a little.  So I moaned again and when I did.... BURP!  Hallelujah!  God finally decided that just this once for kicks and giggles he would give me the ability to burp.  It was maybe one of the most heavenly feelings I've ever had.  All of sudden, that baby I was convinced I was getting ready to shoot out into the world no longer existed. And just like that- it was over.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief (can I get and AMEN!) and turned on the TV and waited for my kids to come home.

Just FYI- if you have the ability to let a belch rip, take a minute and thank your lucky stars!  You have no idea how desperately jealous of you I am!

Now- go forth and make fun of me.  I know you want to.

August 20, 2010

Adoption Corner- Supporting Adoptive Families

Having been through both the adoption experience and the child birth experience, I found that all kinds of people know how to take care of you after you give birth, but hardly anyone knows the right things to do when you bring home your adopted child.  Most people also don't know how to respond appropriately when you tell them that you are adopting in the first place.  This is meant to be a guide for the friends and families of adoptive families in the praying/planning/dreaming phase as well as families in process and newly home.  Link it up, cut and paste, email it out to your family.  I will say all the things to your family that you are afraid to say or maybe that you yourself don't even know that you need yet! (I don't mind being the heavy!)

1.  When your loved one comes to you with the news that they are planning to adopt:
  • Do not say, "Oh, don't give up trying for 'your own'" or "Don't you want to have one of 'your own' instead? Adoption is not something people enter into lightly.  And prospective adoptive families already do consider this child that they do not even know as 'their own'.  By saying this to an adoptive family, it insinuates that you will not be accepting their new addition as your 'own' grandchild/neice/nephew/etc.  Also- many families that consider adoption have been through long periods of time dealing with infertility and adoption may be a very emotional decision.  It signifies the end of one dream and the beginning of a new dream.  Supporters need to be very sensitive to this and be positive! 
  • Share your concerns about the finances of adoption, but do it in a non-judgemental way.  Yes, adoption is expensive.  But you need to understand that there are grants, fundraisers, and ways to aquire the money.  So instead of looking at the people who want to adopt and saying, "Oh my gosh- you are so poor, you will never be able to afford this!" say something like, "I know that this will be expensive, how can we help you plan a fundraiser?"
  • Do not recall in gory detail every terrible adoption story you've ever heard. This is the equivalent of telling a pregnant woman that her baby will be born with 12 arms and she will be in labor for 3 weeks and her boobs will fall all the way down to the ground after breastfeeding.  Just don't do it.
  • If the family is adopting internationally, do not condescendingly talk about how there are so many kids here in America who need home.  Each person needs to do what feels right for their family.  Sometimes that means adopting domestically, and sometimes that means going international.  Either way, a child who needs a home and a family will get one.  Focus on that fact and leave your personal opinions about which you think is best to yourself.  Remember- they are BOTH awesome (and BOTH necessary!) 
2.  Once families are in process:
  • Check in with the adoptive family's (from here on out called A.F.) emotions!  Adoption can be a very emotional process.  There are days where you are in the dumps and days when you want to celebrate.  Give the A.F. the space to talk about their feelings and their frustrations.  When they call super excited and say, "I got my I-171h", pretend like you know what they are talking about and jump up and down and throw a party.
  •  Throw a baby shower just as if the A.F. was pregnant.  Make a big stinkin' deal over the mom to be.  Obviously, don't play the how big is your belly game.  But do everything else the same!
  • Support A.F. fundraisers.  They need your help!  Better yet- host a fundraising dinner, pancake breakfast, auction, raffle, etc. to help the family raise the money to bring their child home.
  • If there are other children already in the A.F. offer to babysit them leading up to traveling so that mom and dad get a few last dates in before the new addition. 
  • If the adoption is international, educate yourself about the child's birth country.
  • If the adopted child will be of a different race, educate yourself about transracial families by reading articles, books, etc. Just googling transracial families will bring up a wealth of information.   
  • Offer to keep siblings, pets and housesit for the A.F. when they are traveling. 
3.  Once families are home:
  • All the same rules apply as when you bring a baby home from the hospital.  Bring food, offer to coordinate meals and food dropoffs for church groups.  Come over and clean.  Wash clothes and put away laundry. Wash dishes.  Do not believe the A.F. when they say they do not need help.  THEY DO!
  • Respect the A.F's rules regarding holding their new addition.  Many families may wish to not have any outsiders (this includes Grandma!) holding their child so that this child who has been with many caregivers can learn who mom and dad are.  A.F's do not do this to hurt your feelings.  They are only doing what they feel is best for their new child.  Do not make them feel bad about this.
  • Also- sometimes to foster attachment in our adopted kiddos, the parent's don't want to leave them with a sitter or family member for a long period of time after coming home.  Understand that this is not because the family member or sitter is not trusted or loved.  It is just to help give the new child the right sense of family and permanance.
  • Offer to run the carpool, run errands, cut the grass, babysit the siblings, pick up items at the grocery.  New moms are notoriously sleep deprived- even if this is the 10th child they've adopted.  Drop over a huge cup of Starbucks.  Say hello at the door with said cup of coffee and leave.
  • Give gift cards for takeout and pizza- so that long after the food welcome wagon has stopped coming, the family can still eat without having to cook!  Seriously- who wants to cook when you've been up all night with a crying baby?
  • Even though the A.F. did not give birth, families who are bringing home new children will be exhausted from long nights in the hospital (domestic adoption), long flights or a week or two in a foreign land with a new baby who has most likely been screaming non-stop because the child has no idea what is happening to them. Give the A.F. the forum to share how ragged they are.  Do not judge them.  Every single part is not going to be perfect.  Let them get how hard it all is off their chest without feeling guilty about it. 
  • Watch for post adoption depression.  It is a real thing.  Just because a woman isn't flooded with pregnancy hormones, doesn't mean that she can't develop depression.   There is a lot of leadup going into an adoption and sometimes the reality is tough and can lead to lots of emotional ugliness.  Be supportive. 
  • Do not expect adoptive parents to be "super parents".  I find that there is a huge stigma that adoptive families should have it all together because they "paid a lot" for their children. All families are on a learning curve- no matter how they got their children.  Do not be quick to dispense advice if you've never adopted a child (because parenting an adopted child in the early days is a lot different than a biological child), but be quick to say, "How can I help?"- Then be willing to actually help!
  • Most of all, share in the joy that comes with bringing a new child into the family! 
If you've done a post about this topic- or want to write a post about this topic and put in ideas that I've left off- PLEASE link it up!

Spreading the love- giveaway winner

I get so much love and encouragement from you, my dear readers (did that sound very Dear Abby or what!?)  Oh wait- she always said "gentle readers"- never mind.

Yesterday I had my house cleaned using a Merry Maids gift card that darling reader Darcy sent me months ago when I was deep in the trenches.  I read my sweet Miles a book that awesome Ann from Canada sent him for his birthday.  I drank peach tea that the rockin' Corey sent to me. I got an email from the amazing Amber that said she had 50 containers of formula that we could we use for the orphanages in Congo. Hallelujah!  It was a day filled with love from sent from my cyber friends.

To all of you that tune in here to keep reading- you give me so much encouragement (and a deluded sense of purpose!).  All of your comments and emails really do make my day.  So thanks!

And now it's time to share the love.  I LOVE being able to give stuff back to you. (I especially love it when CSN foots the bill for it)  :-)  So without further adieu, the winner of the $40 CSN gift card is...

Vicky H. from the great state of New Jersey

I was really excited when my kiddos picked Vicky's name out of my scratched up stock pot.  She SO deserves a little shopping spree.  She works in the school system with severely special needs kids.  After school she babysits special needs kids.  Before school she babysits special needs kids.  On the weekends, she babysits special needs kids.  Are you sensing a trend here? Thank God for people like her!  If you are the parent of a special needs child you know how hard it is to find someone like this who understands your child.  So it goes without saying that girlfriend needs a little splurge!  Congrats, Vicky- and thanks to everyone who played along with the giveaway.  And thanks to CSN for sponsoring such a great prize! 

August 18, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Today is Sadie's first day of the first grade.   I'll miss my little Sadie bug while she's away.  She insisted on dressing herself in this dress, which is very old lady-ish, and these gold tennis shoes that we bought on final clearance (hmmm... wonder why the things were dirt cheap?  Oh yeah, 'cause they are heinous!)  They kind of remind me of something that Blanche Devereaux would wear on the Golden Girls.  The important thing is that she feels good about herself and is ready to start a fresh new year!

Adoption Corner Questions

I get so many awesome emails from adoptive families and prospective adoptive families.  So many of them ask the same types of questions.  I always assume that if there is someone actually doing the asking, then there must be several other who wish they could ask questions and just don't for some reason or another.  I also know that most of this audience is made up of people interested in adoption.  SO for the next few Fridays, I'll be doing an "Adoption Corner" made up of your burning adoption related questions. I'll also add a linky so any other adoptive parents out there who want to chime in and write their own posts can link up here so we can all team up to be a great source of information!

I've gotten four really great questions/requests this week:
1. What books would I recommend reading to help prepare for your adopted child?
2. How has our adoption affected the siblings and what kinds of things should you be prepared for?
3. A guide to how family/friends can support adoptive families.
4. " I am desperate to adopt and my husband is not on board...HELP"- I swear, I get this one at LEAST a billion times a week!

All of these posts are in the works and I'll put up a new one every Friday.  But since this series will be for YOU, feel free to ask away.  Put your question or topic you'd like to see discussed in the comments section here and I'll work through them one at a time.  No question is too big or too small- and no question is off limits. When we were in process, I was desperate for information like this.  So here's my attempt at paying it forward.  I'm not an expert, but I will answer honestly.  Also- anonymous commenting is on, so feel free to ask your burning adoption questions anonymously if you need to.

Tune in Friday for my first installment of "Adoption Corner"!

August 15, 2010

Trauma is scary stuff

A couple of weeks ago I put up a teaser that I would tell you about our crazy PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) experience when we went for Miles' MRI of his eyes. (He needed the MRI to check for suspected tumors and degenerative nerve disorders that could be causing his eyelids to be so droopy) But the experience traumatized me so much, that I really wasn't ready to talk about it until now.   I now completely understand how sometimes parents who parent trauma end up experiencing PTSD themselves.  Watching our children have these types of experiences is both horrifying and haunting.

I guess that before I start, I should give a little bit of background about Miles and his PTSD.  I know that lots of you  may not even know what PTSD is.  PTSD is a disabling anxiety disorder in which a person relives a traumatic event (abuse, combat, abandonment, natural disasters) as though it is currently happening.  Kind of like a flashback.  The most common way you may have heard of this is with soldiers coming home from war- like the sound of a helicopter making a Vietnam vet think that he is right back in the jungle fighting for his life.

We are learning what kinds of things trigger Miles. Normally, we try at all costs to avoid those triggers like the plague, but sometimes they just can't be helped.  The day that we went to have the MRI, several triggers collided to create the perfect storm.  It was if Miles slipped into this alternate universe and we could not "unstick" him from that flight or fright mode that put him right back in Africa just trying to survive. It was the worst day we've had since Miles has been home.  Here's a little sample about what a day in the life of parenting trauma looks like... 

For the MRI, Miles was not allowed to eat after midnight the night before.  Hunger is Miles' top PTSD trigger.  He can not even remotely begin to get hungry or he dissolves into a violent little puddle that is ready to do mortal combat just to get a bite to eat.  His MRI appointment was not until 1pm, so that was an extremely long time for the little guy to be hungry.  He stood in front of the kitchen cabinet and screamed bloody murder.  He punched, kicked, tried to off his brother and sister, and beat his head against the cabinet.  There was no reasoning with him.  He looked at me like I was the enemy for witholding food from him.  He came at me like a lion several times.  He begged, he pleaded... and then he shut down.  He just gave up.  He became overwhelmed with how an empty belly felt and he became so gripped with fear that he just became unfuntional.

The second thing that happened is that we took him to the hospital.  Because Miles has been so sickly (malaria, TB, exteme malnutrition, crazy blood levels etc.) he's had to have a lot of medical testing.  He knows that a lot of times this is painful and takes a long time.  He recognizes the front of a doctor's office or hospital and immediately loses it.  He threw himself down on the blacktop of the parking lot and refused to move.  Despite the fact that the child at 2 1/2 years old only weighs 20 pounds, he can make himself feel like a 50 pound sack of potatoes.  Couple that with the hunger, and I had to drag him by his arms into the hospital because if I tried to pick him up, he went into complete kung-fu mode.  Unfortunately, you can't reason with a child that young that he needs to have the testing and that it is actually for his own good.

After dragging him in by his arms, the woman who took Miles back to his room was African American. Miles is scared to death African American women. The darker a woman is, the more terrified he is. When he first came home and we were around black women, he would shake and throw fits. He’s gotten a little better about it recently. He now just closes his eyes when he’s around black women. He doesn’t do any of this with African American men or other black children- just women. So we are led to believe that there is some underlying trauma or abuse that he is not able to verbalize and that causes him to panic around black women.


So not only was Miles hungry and at the doctor, but he was being looked after by a gorgeous black woman. It all just proved to be too much and Miles went on a rampage more severe than anything I’ve ever seen. He started beating his head on the concrete wall over and over again. He climbed up on a chair and threw himself off. He was shrieking and screaming. He was clawing at his skin. He had no regard for the pain he was inflicting on himself. All he knew to do to deal with how overwhelming the situation was was to hurt himself. By this point, several nurses came in to try to help us. I tried several times to pick him up and help him get control of himself. He wouldn’t even let me get within a few feet of him. I thought that maybe it was just because we have had kind of a tumultuous relationship that he just didn’t want me. He never wants me when he’s hurting. So I explained our attatchment issues briefly to the nurses (who were very understanding) and asked them if they could try to hold Miles and calm him down so that he would quit hurting himself. One of the nurses walked over to him. He let her get a lot closer than I’d been able to. She bent down while talking to him very calmly and for a split second, I thought that he was going to let her pick him up. Instead, that tiny little boy reared his arm back and punch her right in the nose with a crazy amount of force for a child his size. I think that it caught her off guard and she stepped back holding her nose. Miles took the fury to another level.

Finally, the nurses had to come into the room with strips of blankets and they cornered him and wrapped him up tight with the blankets with his arms confined down to his sides- like a straight jacket. Then they gave him a tranquilizer and an amnesiac. It didn’t take him long at that point to be knocked out, so they took him back for the MRI.

When they came in to wrap him up- I just had to walk out of the room. I couldn’t take watching my son like that. The only words I can think to describe him in that state is to say that it was like watching a caged animal. His reactions were so primal. It was so heartbreaking because I know that in his former life ( most likely in the 16 months before he got to the orphanage) he probably had to act like that or watch other people act like that just to survive. I saw those nurses walk in with those blankets and tranqualizers and I couldn’t help but flash forward 20 years. I could see my Miles as a grown up being sedated and institutionalized- and it strengthened my resolve to do everything I can to help my child heal. It still blows my mind how much damage can happen to a child psychologically when they are abandoned at such a young age. That loss and the fear that it invokes manifests itself in some strange ways.

Miraculously, they found that anatomically everything is okay with his eyes- no tumors and no nerve disorders. There is still some vision testing that needs to be done, but we are holding off on it for the time being. Blessedly, the amnesiac they gave Miles did its job and he came out of the MRI not remembering a thing. I can’t help but wish there was something that he could be given to help him forget those first two years of life…

Thankfully, most days are not like this and most manifestations of his trauma are not this severe.   Luckily, the days like this are coming less and less.  And when Miles gets in a rut, he doesn't stay there as long as he used to.  There are miles to go, but I see so much progress.  There is hope.

August 12, 2010

$40 Gift Card Giveaway!

Because I love you so much, and because CSN Stores seem to love me so much, we're teaming up again to do a giveaway.  I've told you before, but I'll tell you again- CSN has over 200 stores and they literally sell every single thing imaginable.  In the Terry household, we are thinking that a new bedroom suite is in our future (hello, Christmas!) and I have my eye on several bedroom furniture sets that I would LOVE to have from CSN.

So, for this giveaway, I'm giving you the opportunity to win a  $40 gift card  to any of CSN's online stores.  You can find a complete listing of their stores HERE.  $40 to get whatever your heart desires- start dreamin' folks!  They have great baby stuff, workout stuff, kitchen gadgets, cookware, home decor, shoes, pet stuff, and the list goes on and on...

If you want to earn up to three chances to win (and who wouldn't!) here's what you have to do:

1.  Leave a comment on this post with the words $40 gift card in the comment.

2.  For an extra entry- leave a comment AND become a follower of this blog (by clicking over on the left under "followers")  Don't forget to tell me in your comment that you are a follower!  "Old" followers count, too!

3.  For a third chance to win: leave a comment AND become a follower AND blog, tweet or facebook about this giveaway.  Again, tell me in your comment that you shared this giveaway!  You can put all your info in one comment if you'd like.

Best of luck.  I'll randomly draw a winner on Thursday, August 19th at 7pm and announce the winner as soon as the crazy kiddos get their booties in bed.

P.S.  I am new to twitter- so if you want to follow me, look me up at meganterry01

Success

This morning I was getting ready in the bathroom with what seemed like no less than a hundred kids running around at my feet. They seem to multiply when you are in a confined space like that. I was trying to get my teeth brushed and toenails clipped when I heard Noah say to Sadie," If you put on this nail polish you will look so pretty! And you can put on makeup, too, and it will be so beautiful!"

Sadie didn't miss a beat. She said, "Noah, you don't need any of those things to be beautiful."

And in that one instant, I felt like I was totally succeeding as a mother.

August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

He's going to hate me when he's older.

And the award goes to...

There are so many bloggers out there that I wish I knew in real life.  One of those "wish I knew in real lifer's" just gave me a Beautiful Blogger Award!
I got this award from Mama Drama Times Two.  If you are not an avid Mama Drama reader- you are missing out.  She and The Other Mother are the kind of gals I'd love to sit at the kitchen table and play board games and drink margaritas with.  These lovely ladies are foster moms extraordinaire.  Seriously- they take on about a million squillion foster children (mostly teenagers!) and they deal with crazy on a daily basis.  However, they do it with such compassion and such commitment.  They are amazing heroes to the children that they foster.  But even more than that, my favorite thing about Mama Drama and The Other Mother is even though they have been together for a long time, they still talk about each other with such love and respect and complete admiration.  Their relationship to each other and to the children they share their lives with is truly inspiring.

The rules for the blog award are: post the award on your blog, link back to the person that gave it to you, and give it to whomever you want to. But make sure they are beautiful. I have so many beautiful bloggy friends it is hard as heck to choose.  But here goes...

Baby Webbsite:  This is my high school friend Rachael's blog.  She blogs about her little cutie, Walker, and she is a fantastic mother.  Plus- the girl can rap. And any mama who raps ridiculous things like the clean-up song is a winner in my book!  She is model gorgeous and she is a woman with a huge heart for God.  We just love their little family.  Scoot on over to her blog- she is hysterical and gives great parenting advice!

Stellar Parenting 101:  J. over at Stellar Parenting is just a fantastic read.  She deals with parenting and attachment issues with her adopted children.  She's been navigating these waters for a while and reading her stuff has been such a great source of information and hope for me as we start to go through attachment issues with Miles.  Plus- she's Canadian and I love me some Canadians!

Babbling Abby:  Abby blogs about all kinds of things.  She's a mother and a teacher and does great posts about decorating and dressing on a budget. The girl can take $5 to a yard sale and come home with a whole new house full of furniture.  She's cute and blonde and her legs are about 25 feet long ;-)  We share a love for Target and reality television.  If you need a good laugh, I highly recommend her blog.

I know that my mother is not a blogger, but she's beautiful (even when she's sticking her tongue out) and I love her and I'd give her an award any day of the week. 



August 09, 2010

I feel good (nananananana) I knew that I would

I just have to say how dang good I feel today.  I knew that I needed a break in the worst way before going to NYC, but once I got there and felt like I could exhale for the first time in months, it really hit me just how badly I need to try to make time for myself more often!  Getting rested and recharged feels awesome!

To say that it was a phenomenal weekend would be an understatement.  It was one of the most amazing adventures I've ever had.  It was wonderful meeting so many outspoken, strong and passionate women.  There were also some crazy big egos at BlogHer, but that is to be expected.  After all, it seems that the whole purpose of the convention is for bloggers to pimp themselves out to corporate sponsors.  But for the most part, people were normal and nice. It is also awesome that everyone you meet starts out by saying, "What do you blog about?"  And I get to say, " My crazy children and the Congo."  Which is usually followed by, "Congo? Why Congo?"  That's my cue to launch into my big crazy spill.  I LOVE sharing the Congo! (Duh.) 

But I also learned that I love New York.  And I have the I Heart NY shirts to prove it.  It was nothing like I thought it would be.  Everyone was nice and the city was clean and it felt so safe.  In my experience, the mean New Yorkers and the dirty city rumors are just big ol' lies. 

I did so many fun things, it's hard to know where to begin.  I took a bus tour with my friend Christine all over the city.  Then we walked all over Times Square at midnight.  We were such tourists!  We took pictures of everything and pointed at everything and otherwise just walked around looking like huge dorks.  I love that girl!


As an aside, do not wear a flowy skirt and walk over the grates in the city.  Your skirt will fly up all Marilyn Monroe style.  I learned that one the hard way. The bad news is that I only have one pair of non-cotton underwear.  (Very Granny-ish, I know)  So if I am going to wear a skirt that I don't want to stick to my underwear, I am limited to this one pair of silkies.  Unfortunately the seam split out of that pair of underwear at our Congo reunion last weekend and so in my haste I stuck them back together with a safety pin.  The really bad news is that these were the underwear I had on when my skirt flew up in the middle of the sidewalk.  The good news is, no one in New York pays attention to you.  Perhaps I should go underwear shopping. 

The next day, I decided that I was going to go on my own mini "Eat, Pray, Love" experiment.  I prayed that I wouldn't get fat as I ate my way all over the city.  I loved every minute of it.  I walked in a million tiny restaurants and asked the people behind the counter what their restaurant was known for.  Whatever they said, I ate one of.  That meant having an enormous piece of cheesecake for breakfast, a cannoli for a snack, a massive pastrami sandwich and homemade kettle chips for lunch, a chili dog for a snack and a peanut butter brownie just for the heck of it.  I almost needed a wheelbarrow to drag my bloated self around.  I've never had a better food day in my whole life, all ten billion calories of it.  And then there was dinner...

Do you remember me saying that I was going out on a limb and staying with some strangers one night in New York City?  Well, I did it.  And I am going to chalk it up as one of the funnest little adventures of my life.  M & A (their names have been changed so you don't try to mooch hospitality from them!) hosted me on Saturday night.  We had exchanged a few emails, but they aren't bloggers, so I knew VERY little about them other than that they have an 18 year old cat and a few various other fun facts.  I have to admit, I was a tad nervous when it came time for our meet up.  I lost my voice about an hour after getting off the plane and what little air squeaked out sounded almost demented.  I was so afraid these strangers would meet me and automatically assume I was a redneck, chain smoking heathen from the sticks with that voice. 

At last, the time came for us to meet in the lobby of the hotel.  And do you know what?  M & A were the cutest couple I've ever seen.  They looked like a couple that you see on the postcards you get from churches that want you to visit.  They were so delightful. Being the thoughtful people that they are, they thought it would be a great treat for me to go out for African food.  They didn't even make fun of me when I practically begged to ride the subway since I'd never ridden the subway before. So we rode the subway to Harlem, because rumor had it the best African food in the city was there.  There were traditional neighborhood block parties going on in Harlem.  There was such an interesting mix of people there.  As an avid people watcher, I was in heaven.  I couldn't help but ache for that kind of diversity in our small town. 

Okay- back to the restaurant. We walked into the restaurant and there was a big woman sitting on a bucket peeling vegetables.  I think that was my first clue that it was going to be good.  The other clue, is that we were the only white, touristy looking people there.  Everyone else there looked and sounded authentically African.  Our waiter was from Senegal.  I can not convey with words just how good the food was.  It was far and away one of the best meals I've ever eaten and I have seriously contemplated moving to Harlem so that I can eat at Africa Kine everyday.

But even better than the food (which was crazy hard to beat), was the company.  My hosts were so much fun.  We had wonderful conversations and laughed until my cheeks hurt.  (And their friends are probably going to make fun of them about how "famous" they are now after I am writing about them!) I'm just sorry that we don't live closer together because I think we'd have a ball!  Can't wait to host them in KY some day.

Going away for four days to recharge is probably one of the nicest things I've done for myself in years.  I came home to a sparkling clean house (go hubby!) and delightful children.  Hopefully, they will keep this up indefinitely.  A girl can dream, right? If not, the next trip is just around the corner in October for our Mom's Retreat- which is FULL!  Can't wait!!!

August 06, 2010

Guest Blog- Pole Pole Foundation

I am in NYC having a ball and chatting it up with lovely people and talking to anyone who will listen about Congo.  While I'm gone, I'm letting my gal Michelle borrow my bloggy audience.  Michelle is doing some really awesome things for the Pole Pole Foundation that operates in Congo.  Pole Pole does environmental work in DRC and puts locals to work.  And while my passion is orphans in Congo, I know that an organization like Pole Pole that is good for the community, is also AWESOME at keeping families in tact.  Because healthy communities= healthy families.  So without further adieu, we interrupt the regularly scheduled programming for a special message from Michelle!

Hello Everyone!



My name is Michelle DeJardine. Megan has been awesome enough to let me temporarily take over her blog so that I can tell you all, her amazing readers, about an organization based in eastern DRC that I really care about.


I am not sure how many of you have read A Thousand Sisters by Lisa Shannon (if you haven’t, go get that book!) but if you have, you may remember an individual named “Eric” who worked at a National Park in eastern DRC called Kahuzi-Biega. He discussed conflict minerals and had a Gorilla memorial wall that really moved Lisa because it was the only memorial she had ever seen in DRC. Lisa changed his name to “Eric” in the book for his own safety but his real name is Dominique.


Dominique was born and raised in DRC near the National Park and when he was 20 years old, he, with other staff members of the park, founded a non-profit organization called Pole Pole Foundation (which means Slowly Slowly but Steady). Dom could see that the communities on the outskirts of the park were really struggling. Most of these individuals are pygmies, who are often ostracized by other Congolese people (much like Native Americans/Canadians). He was also seeing that these communities were causing some environmental problems for Kahuzi-Biega from cutting down trees and poaching highly endangered animals for bush meat and selling poached animals to gain some form of income. The communities were also extremely illiterate with no opportunities to go to school or send their own children to school. So Dom and many of the Kahuzi-Biega park staff decided to make a change.


It has been 18 years since Pole Pole Foundation was formed and since then it has built three schools around the park- two are elementary schools, one high school. The high school students are taught everything you would expect but there is also a large focus on conservation – many of these students will follow in their father’s footsteps to become park rangers at Kahuzi-Biega. Their environmental education program has been extended to 21 existing schools around the park. Currently, 728 children are registered in Pole Pole’s kindergarten and primary schools and 147 students are studying agro-forestry and conservation at the high school. Pole Pole has created sustainable jobs for women in these communities as women are one of the main focuses of the organization. Women have learned how to sew ranger uniforms, they receive goats and chickens, they provide the food that the children at the schools eat (making sure that these kids do not have empty stomachs as they try to learn) and women whose husbands have been killed while protecting the park from poachers also receive micro credits and training so they can support their children. Six literacy centers were also launched to teach adults to read and write Swahili and they also learn about conservation. Thanks to Pole Pole, 1.5 million trees have been distributed and planted around the park. Individuals who used to poach animals such as leopards, rare forest elephants, the highly endangered Eastern Lowland Gorilla, which exists no where else in the world, have been trained to create wood carvings of the very animals they used to poach, using trees they grew themselves. These carvings are then sold to tourists, people visiting the park and internationally (I own a beautiful Gorilla carving!).


Now, I know that these facts do not necessarily pull at the heart strings. Westerners have a tendency to think that because DRC is facing SO many problems, why should anyone care about the environment, animals and communities living around Kahuzi-Biega? I will try to explain how I feel in regards to this.


Pole Pole is not an organization run by a celebrity. It is not a trendy organization. It was not founded by anyone in the Western world… but it has been there, helping these communities, before the war started in 1994 when the Western world didn’t even know what DRC was, and 18 years later it is still going strong. This organization is based in and thrives on the idea of hope. Kahuzi-Biega is ground zero for the conflict in DRC. When Rwandan refugee’s fled by the thousands over the boarder into Congo, it was Kahuzi-Biega where they decided to call home. Now 18 years later, many of the refugees have left, but the militias that were hiding amidst them have stayed and are living in the park – attacking the villages outside of the park, looting Pole Pole head quarters, stealing things from the schools, creating a feeling of unrest. But Pole Pole and its founders bravely push back against this – they solve every problem, they dedicate their lives to these communities, they give structure in times of chaos, they give people a sense of purpose and empowerment, they don’t give up. There is a reason why Pole Pole Foundation stands for “Slowly Slowly but Steady”. This organization is going to be around for generations. It has seen DRC come into war and it will see DRC reach the other side and become a peaceful, thriving country. Pole Pole and its founders know that there is no quick fix to solving the problems in eastern DRC. It takes years of dedication and commitment. It puts individuals like Dom and his own family, who could leave the area if they wanted to, right in the middle of the conflict, because he refuses to let their home, Kahuzi-Biega, and the communities around it, be wiped out because of a war that had nothing to do with them in the first place. Militias are mining in the park, destroying the land, destroying the second largest basin rainforest in the world, behind the Amazon, and wiping out entire populations of some of the most beautiful species of animals in the world. It is these species of animals that will most certainly draw tourism to eastern DRC when the conflict is over. I personally cannot stand the idea of DRC losing all of its natural beauty because of this war. I am so grateful to know that there are people like Dom and organizations like Pole Pole Foundation working so hard in DRC, risking their lives daily, to protect Kahuzi-Biega National Park, which is a World Heritage Site and the communities living around it.


So here is where you guys come in. I asked Megan to help me with this cause through her blog because I have seen what you, her readers, have done before to help DRC. I am organizing a 10km Run/Walk for Pole Pole Foundation fundraising event for August 21st 2010. Each person who participates in the event must raise $100 in sponsorships. I currently have 9 runners including myself. Now I know most of you would not be able to attend the run (it is in Barrie, Ontario Canada – I can picture all of you collectively saying “where the heck is that?!) but one thing I have learned since starting the Run/Walk is how many people in the States (and elsewhere) want to help causes based in DRC. So I put a PayPal link on my own blog so individuals anywhere in the world can donate to support the Run/Walk for Pole Pole Foundation. If any of you are able to, please consider donating to support the Run/Walk. 100% of the proceeds go to Pole Pole Foundation. If you are not able to donate please think about spreading the word about the Run/Walk by posting info about it on your facebook accounts and letting people know about my blog and how they can donate.


There is one neat element to all of this. I will be receiving a few small Gorilla carvings made by the men in the wood carving program. These are being shipped to me in the next few weeks and I am going to have an extra one to give to one lucky person on this page! I am following suit with Megan’s other draws so how this will work is: If you donate to the Run/Walk through my blog, please let me know by saying “donated” in the comments section of this blog entry. If you are not able to donate but have posted info about the Run/Walk on your facebook or your own blogs, please write “posted” or something along those lines in the comment section. If you do both, please say “did both!” Posting on your blog/facebook page is worth 1 point. Donating is worth 2 points. Donating and re posting is worth 3 points. I will enter all of your names in a hat based on the points (the more points the better chance of winning) and after the run (August 21st) I will draw a name and you will win a hand carved Gorilla, made specifically for the event you helped support, by a carver in Pole Pole Foundations carving program! A small piece of DRC!


I cannot post a picture at the moment because the carvings are still in DRC (the guys are working so hard on them!) but as soon as I get them I will see if Megan would mind posting a pic!


Thank you so much for reading this very long blog entry and for supporting the Run/Walk for Pole Pole Foundation. I cannot explain how much I appreciate it!

To donate to support the Run/Walk via PayPal please visit my blog at:
http://my-ripple-of-hope.blogspot.com/
If you would like to see the events page on facebook please visit: http://www.facebook.com/michelle.dejardine#!/event.php?eid=126635997369742&ref=mf



To learn more about Pole Pole Foundation please visit:
http://www.great-apes.com/popof/index.htm

If you would like to read about how I decided to do the Run/Walk for Pole Pole Foundation, please read my guest blog entry at Letters to Congo:
http://www.letterstocongo.com/2010/07/guest-blog-michelle-dejardine-pole-pole.html

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!

A little bit of heaven!

I am quite certain that I have died and gone to heaven.  I arrived in NYC for BlogHer 2010 yesterday.  I had the most fantastic flight.  I got to sit next to Shamekia Copeland, the world touring blues singer, who was super cool.  She and her mother kept me in stitches the whole flight.  I had a cab driver from Africa- and ya' know- I could talk about Africa til the cows come home.  I arrived at my hotel which was a super priceline steal, set my bags down and laid on the bed hoping for a 20 minute nap before I went out to explore my new city.  Somehow, I knocked out for 3 hours!  And no crazy children poked at me, yelled at me, or told me they needed a snack.  I woke up feeling more refreshed than I have in months!  I took a shower- alone and uninterrupted and put on makeup and high heels.  Oh. My. Gosh!  I felt like a grown up woman!  Then I embarked on a few hours of touring the city before I had to check into the conference. 

Walking around New York City in high heels is not the brightest idea I have ever hatched.  After stopping to buy a hot dog from a street vendor, I marched to the drug store and bought a huge box of bandaids to doctor my blistered up feet.  Then I headed to the conference.  I love women- I love hearing their stories.  BUT this conference is just a little weird.  It feels very high school.  All these women seem kind of posey and plastic-ey and it feels really like a popularity contest.  It is, however, all made better by free cocktails.  The highlight of my night was finally getting to meet the fabulous Christine and the lovely Kristen Howerton- both adoptive mamas of children with trauma issues. They so wonderfully let me pal around with them so I didn't look like a socially awkward loser standing all alone.  And it was just so wonderful being in the presence of people who "get it".  Because- wow- my life is just not understood by that many people right now.

I had every intention of waking up bright and early this morning and going to Good Morning America Summer Concert Series.  But I checked out there website and you have to get there at 5 am and wait around until 8 for the concert.  I set my alarm for "oh my god early o'clock" but when it went off, I decided that my bed felt too darn good to move.  And you know what- I didn't feel  one bit guilty about it.  Because I deserve this!

Overall, the last 24 hours have just been pure bliss!  I'm off to go tour central park, times square and all kinds of other wonderful New Yorkness!  Yippee!

P.S.  A pigeon flew right into my head this morning and I was quite sure I had been shot.  Thankfully- the impact did not cause it to poop on me.  Score.

August 03, 2010

What's a girl to do?

I'm contemplating that age old conundrum we women face.  Stay home and raise the kids or go to work?  I have been crazy  fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom for the last seven years- save a few months when Sadie was teeny tiny and we were so flat broke that I went back to doing odd ball jobs for a while. 

I've known my whole life that I wanted to be a mom.  In the seventh grade I decided that I would have eight children.  (That is SO not happening! I would flush my head right down the toilet!) I had all their names picked out and written on a little piece of notebook paper that I kept stuffed in my nightstand.  I changed those kid's last names every time I changed boyfriends.  For some reason, in high school, I changed boyfriends like I changed underwear.  So those poor imaginary kids that were all named after flowers (I so should have been a teen in the 1970's) had a million different last names.  Then when I got to high school, I thought that I would have a whole bunch of kids and still be some big executive. When I graduated from high school, I wanted to be a corporate attorney.  I had visions for this huge career.  I wanted to have my cake and eat it too.

And then the time in my life came to actually have children. (And go me!  I have changed ways since high school and all my kids actually have the same last name! HA!)  When I first held Sadie in my arms, I knew that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.  I threw that big career dream out the window.  I was MORE than happy to do that. I wanted to be home with my baby girl.  With one child, I have to say, I was an awesome stay-at-home mom.  We would spend hours reading books.  We did the museums and the zoo and had playdates and did all kinds of enriching things. I kept a clean house, still hosted dinner parties, and had a hot meal on the table just about every night.

Then baby number 2 came along.  I still wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.  With all the therapy that Noah required, it is a good thing that I was home, too.  But so many of the wonderful parts about staying at home were falling by the wayside.  We just couldn't seem to get out to the door to do the museums that often.  I found it nearly impossible to read a book that would hold both kid's attention.  I started having to have hubby bring home Wendy's way more often than I care to admit because I just couldn't get dinner on the table. But I still loved being at home with my children and being the center of their lives.  And because I loved what I was doing, I still felt fulfilled not having a "career".

Now that number three is here I am having that "Holy Hell!  Why in the world do I want to stay at home?" feeling.  I'm starting to feel torn and I wonder if this (staying at home) is really the right thing for me at this point in my life and if I am doing what is best for my children.  I know that the most important thing we can give our children is a happy mom.  I'm starting to wonder if I just can't hack being a stay-at-home mom anymore and if I'd be happier going back to work.  Don't for one second think that I am complaining.  I realize just how blessed I am to have the option.  I know that there are people out there who would give their left lug nut for the opportunity to stay home with their children.

My dilemma feels complex.  If I go back to work, it would be for purely selfish reasons- I just want to go to work, put on high heels, eyeliner, and have adults to speak to that don't live inside my computer.  Plus, the income would be nice. But after seven years out of the workforce, would I even be able to find a job?  I doubt that putting "blogging" on my resume will count for squat.

I also wonder if going back to work reinforces to my child who is struggling to attach that people will continue to leave him.  But I also wonder if I go back to work and I'm not around him all day every day, if he might stop taking out the brunt of his issues on me.  But then what if he feels like he doesn't have a punching bag?  Will he spontaneously combust?  Or will he rip a nanny to shreds?  And if I'm not here doing the therapy with the boys, who will do it?  (The answer is no one.)  Or will I maybe be so happy out in the working world that the rest of my family will feed on my happiness? Will I feel so fulfilled out there doing something outside of these four walls that I will just shoot rainbows out my butt?  Will spending less time with my children actually make our relationship better and make me cherish them more?  Then the what if's crawl into my head and I worry that the repercussions of what may happen if I go back to work almost feel to lofty to even think about this little experiment. 

Then there is the issue of the workload.  There will still be the same amount of dinner to make, dishes to wash, laundry to do, homework to complete, therapies to go to, groceries to buy, books to be read and fun to be had that I will be cramming into 3 hours with my kids everyday instead of having the whole day to do it.  Working moms deserve a medal.  So do stay-at-home moms. (someone give me a freakin' medal!)  After weighing the pros and cons for weeks, I just can't make a decision about whether or not to go back to work to try to preserve my sanity.  Hell, who am I kidding?  I can't even make a decision about what to eat for lunch!  Such is life!  And thus, the conundrum continues.  What's a girl to do?
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