Perfectly Written!

Words from the Shadows

Books judged by broken bindings,
Not by the pages that hide the findings.
Endings not printed on the back,
Deceiving pictures in the jacket flap.
Chapters of past etched in black,
The numerals of those pages always stack.
Distant chapters written in invisible ink,
Yet visible in only a blink.
Appearing with the minute hand.
Take a second where you stand.
Because your book is never complete,
Until the antagonist lay in defeat.

So forget the prologue,
It never sells the story anyway.
Fill your pages with memories everyday.
Because it is you,
That makes your book come true.
And once the book is closed you can never undo.

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Beating Addiction: My Story On Embracing Who I Am

 

Guest Blogger …. My Daughter, Amanda and the story she so truthfully tells.

 

Color-less Beads

Color-less Beads

There is a darkness out there. Roaming, weaving, whispering to me. It cackles in the daylight and snarls in the night. Some people have the will to ignore it…others are destined by it. I was imprisoned by it. I’d like to say I was one of the lucky few with this curse. But, it isn’t luck I’m drawn too- it’s experience.

 
Life is one long string strung up with all the beads we’ve collected over the years. Some people are lucky enough, rich enough, or sneakier enough to get the pretty beads. I didn’t care for pretty beads. I chose the deformed, uncolored, and ancient beads to weave my tale. For  I was not a kindred spirit to those others.
And  they and all my dysfunctions certainly were not a kindred spirit to me. When I was little I carried my beads with me everywhere. Hanging out for the world to see, because I was proud of them. They were me in essence. Plus, no one anywhere had beads like mine. I felt special. As if I contained a secret no one else did. I treasured them, clutched in my small hands like rubies until one day, and many more after that, I was rebuked for them. My beads weren’t pretty, they were ugly, old, used up, and so very stupid.

 
I was devastated. And so, I began to hide my beads. Too afraid to show them to anyone.
As the days turned to months that turned to years I had begun to resent them. I resented them and resented myself and especially the world for not accepting the beauty that was crafted in my beads as old as time.
I was now the outcast. I had few friends who talked to me occasionally, but I was still “the weird one.” I began writing at a young age. Angry poetry and dark stories. I read more books than I can name and started to obsess over things that I felt understood or made me in a way. An escape from reality. Each year I masked my resentment and indulged in a different kind of self-destructive pattern. The first when I was little. Dinosaurs. Then, space. Then, Japan. Then, Scotland. Things I could never hope to see and places I felt I could never go. It didn’t matter that all the kids could now make even better jokes at my expense or that my brother and sister were  always teasing me or angry with me for taking so much of moms time. I had found my quiet place. I had finally picked back up my beads.
Of course, that wasn’t enough to help me through the storms to come. My step-father, though real-est father I’d ever known was called back to Iraq for the second time. Not only that, but my mom wanted us to move to Charles City my first year of High School.
I forgot all about my beads. All about everything. And was sucked into a darkness so deep, so terrifying, and so full of hatred no one wanted to be around me. I ran away once. Then, the second time the cops were called and I was sent to a psycho-ward for seven days. By  this time I knew how to cheat the system. I’d been in these white rooms with white doctors who repeat the same questions and all you can do is smile, take your pills, and promise not to hurt yourself or anyone- many more times before.  I was a teenager in crisis, and suicide wasn’t something I didn’t consider.  This time I had thought to be like all the others. But, I was wrong. They were sending me to Teen Challenge. A 15 month rehabilitation center for teens in Kansas City, Missouri.

15 months later, one divorce later, one mom almost committing suicide later,  and dad back home later…. I was vulnerable. Scared. And still fuming with hatred. I was now a Senior. 17 years old. Just when I thought I’d escaped it all the Devil looked down at me and smiled a Cheshire-smile. Stupid cat.
Things were getting worse at home. I’d gotten my first job out at Arbys and was working a lot. I also met a group of people who saw my beads. And accepted them. Wrong crowd. But, what did I know? For the first time in years I didn’t have to be afraid of letting other people see who I was. I didn’t have to hide my beautiful beads. I felt acceptance from those who desired to be around me.
It wasn’t before long I started sneaking out, drinking, and started doing drugs. It had gotten completely out of hand when in January my mom and dad call me downstairs to their “Yahtzee” room for a talk. So, I went. With dread. Already having an idea of what it was going to be about. My mom talks, she’s always talking, she cries, she’s usually crying, my dad sits there like he’s made of stone….but they didn’t know we were all three sitting there far past our breaking points. My mom finally heaves a sigh and looks me, I squirm. “You graduate in 5 months. We will give you your car and gas just for school and back. You stop talking and hanging out with your friends, you help around the house, and spend time with your family….or get the fuck out of my house.”
I was infuriated. Infuriated and hurt they weren’t going to let my addiction continue here. I wanted to stay, wanted to beg them to help me. But, I smiled. My addiction was stronger. And I was just tired of it all.
“Fine. I’ll start packing.”

The next 4 months are a blur. I’d done almost 20 different drugs, slept with many more men, and wasn’t going to school. I lost 30 lbs, was always trying to steal money. I- I was a wreck. I wanted to die. In my addiction I was gone from the world, I didn’t remember it in those drugs. What I didn’t know was that in my addiction when I’d shown my precious beads those I called friends were making fun of me…in their own drug addict way.

Only, then I was too blind to see it.

April 28th, 2011… Jericho fell. As my mom puts it. I’d been on a meth binge for a week and a week prior to that she knew she was losing me. Losing the battle of her little girl. So she prayed. And God told her to turn to the story of the Bible about Jericho. She went so far as to march around the apartment complex I was staying 7 times for 7 nights.
The 7th day my four “friends” and I were arrested and spent the night in jail. I have never been so terrified in my life. Though we made the most of it, and were under 18 I got slapped with possession of drug paraphernalia. Then, with our heads hung low, with no desire to quit, I went home with the girl Id been staying with. The police left our drug of choice on the table because its technically legal and we snorted a whole vial before I finally worked up the nerve to call my mom and beg her to take me home.
Its been 11 months since then.  By grace and trial, I graduated from high school, and after detox, have been drug free ever since.  I’m learning to bring my beads to light the right way. No, they’re not pretty. Yes, they’re old and ancient. But, they’re my beads.  I’ve embraced them.

 

My Mother and I ... moments after my graduation.

My Mother and I … moments after my graduation.

 

Adoption Inspiration – Co-Counseling for the Triad

Sitting across from them, it was inconceivable that I had the right questions to ask which would bring me the answer I needed to change the life of my son forever.  I was choosing adoption for my first born child, and if that choice wasn’t the hardest I’d ever make in my life, choosing his parents was.

In 1991, the Internet wasn’t available along with such informative articles as “Birthmother’s Advice on Choosing Adoptive Parents,”  and Birthparents, What To Do, which are articles I could have benefited from when trying to hard to find the right path and questions to ask along the way.  I didn’t realize that the term, “Open Adoption,” wasn’t a legally binding term in a court of law.  I didn’t know that anything I agreed to with my son’s potential adoptive parents would be a solemn promise we shared, but not a promise I could take to court should it be broken.  I didn’t know a lot of things.

After being involved in the adoption community for about ten years, publishing my first book, “One Birthmother’s Emotional Truth on Healing, Recovery, and Success,”  later on going to Capital Hill to speak against a proposed bill, and traveling the country as a guest speaker on behalf of Birth Mother‘s in adoption; I discovered a major flaw in the adoption system and process.  It wasn’t just that I didn’t know which questions to ask, or how the process worked … it was my relationship with my son’s adoptive parents.  The one bond that required the most attention not only for myself, for my son, but for them as well.

triad symbol

It seemed everywhere I went, whether it was to host a Birthmother Support group at an adoption agency, to speak at a conference, or to be at home at Adoption.com on the discussion forums for Birthparents and Adoptive Parents, no one – on either side of the adoption triad – had been offered co-counseling for the purpose of establishing long term communication in the adoption relationship they were entering into.  Birthmother’s are offered counseling pre and post placement by the adoption agency, and a good adoption agency will also require the adoptive family to financially support up to a year’s worth of third party therapy for their birthmother.  Adoptive parents utilize the adoption agency for support groups, counseling, and long term care.  However, there is a missing link.

For as many questions as I had, but did not know how to ask … so too did my son’s adoptive parents.  Sadly, it was only later on, after the adoption was finalized, that they realized they had them.   The long term effects and issues of adoption often time don’t surface until several years after the placement.  Birthmother’s and Adoptive parents alike will find themselves wondering, “Did I agree to the right thing?  What did I do?  Why didn’t I ask?  How do I maintain this?  What should I say?  How do I respond?”  Without initial pre-placement co-therapy and counseling together, these questions remain silenced.  There is no solid foundation for the freedom in discussion.

After several years of attempting to get pictures and letters from my son’s adoptive parents, the agency finally sent me a letter.  They’d written, “We are deeply sorry for this response, and pray you are able to move on from here.  We wish you the best.”  There was a second letter re-typed by the agency, from my son’s parents which read, “We are grateful that you chose us to raise our son, however he is ours until he is 18 and we would ask no further attempt at contact be made.  We wish you all the best.”

In all my years of being involved in the adoption community with Birth Parent‘s and Adoptive Parents, and even today as I read through the Forum Discussion boards at Adoption.com, I see that this is a trend that continues to bleed hearts from all sides.  I am not an adoption advocate, and I refrain from giving any kind of advice to anyone making these life altering decisions, but I do hope and pray that anyone reading this connects to the eternal truth that they are not alone, there is help out there, and for every question you do not know you should ask … I hope you find the courage and the strength to reach out and seek more from those who are in place to offer help to you.

Suggest Co-Counseling for Birth Parent’s and Adoptive parents, in a unified and cohesive approach for the long term benefit of your relationship both to one another and to your commitment to a healthy adoption.  Birth Parents and Adopting Parents alike.  Your family, on both sides, deserves this.

 

Until I Knew

cropped-head-shot.jpg

 

 

 

I never knew a laughter that could bend me silly.

I never tasted a fulfillment that could make me lick my lips.

I never came across my own shadow and played hide and seek just for fun.

I never talked out loud and learned something.

I never sang until my throat dried.

I never knew peace in silence.

I never knew love without expectation.

I never paused long enough to smell the rain.

Until I knew me.

Woman in the Rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One simple day when I was alone, I unwrapped myself like a child stealing a peek at a present.

At first I laughed … bent over and silly.

Then, I dug in and tore away the layers.

I played with the shadows until they were all found.

I talked out loud until I began to speak truth.

I danced around and sang so loud it made sense.

Then, I grew quiet and found love.

And then it rained.

And now, I know.