Post-Op

My surgery went well, and now I am recovering. I am in a lot of pain, because the surgery was in my abdomen, and so whenever I try to stand/sit/walk, it pulls on my wounds. I’ve got plenty of pain medication and an abdominal binder, but it still hurts a lot. Luckily my bio mom is here to take care of me, my regular parents have JI, and Poke took Squeaks for the weekend. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the couch and in bed. I slept nearly all day yesterday, and today I’ve been up moving around some more. My abdomen is pretty swollen, but thankfully the incisions aren’t too long, just deep.

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Life is What Happens

Seeing people’s year in review posts on Facebook has inspired me to write my own. 2015 sucked. It started out with my husband in the ICU after a suicide attempt, and ended with two of my best friends kissing me and making me feel wonderful.

Horrific and horrible things happened last year, but also I got the best gift that any person could ever ask for; I filled the hole I’d felt my entire life. In April I found my bio mom, and subsequently my bio brothers and sister and family, and those people have absolutely made every shitty moment into a fine, okay, or awesome moment. Finally I have people who love me just because I am part of them. I feel whole, for the first time, despite my recent sadness. And that means a lot.

I lost my husband and eventually my marriage. He didn’t die, but he might as well have, considering the way things turned out. I lost my best friend, who also didn’t die, but simply disappeared from our lives like dust in the wind. I was left with his dog, who I had to rehome, and who is very very happy in her new place with her new owner.

I reconnected with one of my best friends from years ago, and she and her girlfriend are Squeaks’ godmothers. They helped me through the first wave of tough times at the end of my marriage. I successfully started a business from my home, and made enough money to sustain a comfortable lifestyle.

Things didn’t work out with Doc, and though it hurts like hell, I suppose it is for the best. Long distance relationships can be difficult. We’ll still be friends, and we never made things “official”, so that makes it a bit easier. I just hate seeing things crash before they get off the ground. I’m a person who always dwells on what could have been!

We finally got JI’s diagnosis, which has helped immensely in getting treatment. Now that he’s on medication, his behaviour has greatly improved. IF only I could get ahold of someone at the autism center to get this behaviour therapy started…

And, at the end of the year, I received a diagnosis myself – metabolic syndrome. It may be the root of all the mysterious issues I’ve had over the years. I have to switch to a low purine diet, which means no yeast, bread, beer, meat, and other delicious things, but I am allowed to have vegetables, pasta, cheese, and wine! Woo! Unrelated to the diagnosis, I will be having surgery at the end of January for a hernia. Fun times.

Overall, even though 2015 had some terrible moments and had a lost of loss associated with it, last year also had some very excellent and amazing moments.

Life Changes… Again…

Things have been going very smoothly the past few weeks. We put JI on Clonidine, a blood pressure reducer, and it has GREATLY improved his disposition. He no longer functions at 11, has had all green days at school wpid-20151119_170344.jpg(well, a couple yellow days, but no reds!), and is generally a happy kid. JI used to be so intense, so full of angry energy, so constantly irritated that he was almost impossible to control. It got to the point where I didn’t know if I would have to take him to the ER one day, because I could not get
him to calm down. He was physically and emotionally out of control. Luckily, an exam by his pediatrician combined with my oral reports and the reports from the autism center warranted the doctor to give us the medication for a trial basis. I cannot believe what a difference it made, and how quickly. For the first time in years, JI is truly himself again. It makes me happy.

On the Squeaks front, he’s growing like a weed, per usual. He’s already got six teeth, and two more are about to pop out in the next week. The last two came in between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning! He got an wpid-20151119_090745.jpgexcellent review at his 9 month check up: 21#, 12 oz, 34″ long. He’s in the 90th percentile, much like JI always was. I think Squeaks is going to be a football player (JI wants to play the tuba LOL). He crawls around like a crazy man, super fast, and is standing and cruising along the furniture. JI walked at 11 months, and I’m sure Squeaks will meet or exceed that timeline. If he didn’t have such a big head, he could probably balance better right now! He’s eating real food, doesn’t care for baby food much anymore, and his favorite foods are jalapenos, multi-grain cheerios, and MEAT. ALL THE MEAT.

Poke has seen the boys a few times since his mother pulled her witchy bullshit back in September. He has an actual job now, so he’s back to paying child support (per our agreement, not “legally”), but I wish he would see the kids more often. He says his only day off is Sunday… I don’t know whether to believe him or not. I’m glad that his mom isn’t getting to spend time with them, but I want the boys to know their father, even if he is an asshole to me. Just because he couldn’t handle marriage and family life doesn’t mean he was or is a terrible father. He was always a good dad until his mental health and substance abuse issues got in the way. It’s sad. What’s even more sad is that JI still asks about Seanatello, but rarely asks about his dad or his grandmother. Of course Honey & Poppy, my parents, are always #1 in JI’s mind! My bio mom and the rest of my bio family have been getting more involved in our lives as well, which will be wonderful for the boys as they get older

I was trying to get into the dating scene, as it is quite lonely and barren out here for a single mother. I am surrounded by at least two children 24/7. My only real life adult contact is when the parents drop off their kids in the morning and pick them up at night, when I see adults at the preschool, and when I go to the grocery store. I am desperate for adult human contact. The problem is, either the market is tapped out or my standards have gotten WAY more stringent than they were in the past. There’s nothing here for me, there’s nobody here that I’m remotely interested in, and actually, that’s fine. I’ve been talking with good friend of mine who lives out east, we’ll call him Doc, and things are going in a pleasing direction. We’re not going to commit, or rush, or whatever. Just take it nice and slow, and I like that. We’ve been friends for about 10 years, withwpid-received_10153767078034801.jpg some rough spots in between thanks to my relationship with Poke, but I’ve always had feelings for him in my heart. I always thought about him, but pushed it aside because I was married and that was supposed to be forever. Well, we all see how that worked out! So now I’m free to pursue what could be, and I’m excited. He seems to be genuinely interested in the boys, and JI talks about him at least a few times a day, even though they’ve never met. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Bio Family Update

The past two and a half months have been a whirlwind of emotions for myself, my family, and my bio family. Mostly they have been positive emotions, except on the side of my (adoptive) family. I have continued to build a relationship with my bio family, and I have never been happier in my whole life. I finally feel like I am somewhere I belong naturally, rather than somewhere I am forcing myself to try to fit in.

Back in May, the weekend after Memorial Day, with the help of my siblings, I drove to Akron on a very stormy Sunday afternoon and surprised my bio mom. I met BD, his wife, and Texas at the restaurant around 3pm, and Sissy brought mom once they texted her to say I’d arrived. I could see out the window into the parking lot, and when I saw them walking in, I thought I would faint. Sissy walked over to our table, with bio mom in tow. She stopped, and bio mom kinda looked around like “Why did you stop?” Then she looked over at the table, it took a second for her to realize who I was, and then she put her hand over her mouth and just said “Oh my god oh my god oh my god” over and over. I got up and gave her a hug, and it felt so comfortable, and in the back of my mind I was thinking that the last time she gave me a hug was 33 years ago. I wondered what it felt like for her, and I imagine she must have been thinking the same thing.

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Me and Bio Mom

We had a lovely meal, Mexican of course, and a good time catching up. We were at the restaurant for about three hours! Afterwards we went and visited my bio grandma (Gigi). She was very surprised to see bio mom, and even more surprised to see me. It was an interesting visit, to say the least. Finally we went back to bio mom’s place. We sat and talked with her housemate, talked about everything under the sun, and I finally left around 10:30pm. It was the craziest twelve hours in my recent history! Ranked right up there with Squeaks being born ahead of schedule!

Because they weren’t able to come to the baptism, bio mom arranged for the boys and me to go up to Akron for the 4th of July weekend. She came down and picked us up on Friday afternoon, Poke came up on Sunday afternoon, and we headed home on Monday.

Friday we got delicious authentic pizza, and Sissy brought her girlfriend to the hotel to meet us. JI acted like a maniac after the car ride, and bounced all over the place. After a couple of hours they left, and somehow I got the boys to sleep! Saturday was the big day – meeting ALL the family. Bio mom picked us up in the afternoon, and we headed to my aunt’s house.

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Clockwise from top left: Texas, Bio Mom, Sissy and Me, Gigi

Have I told you guys yet how big my bio family is?! It is HUGE. My family always consisted of me, Scrod, and my parents. My dad has two brothers, one who was never married, and one who passed away, but his wife still comes to family holidays. I have no cousins. My grandfathers died in 1977 and 1981, and my grandmothers passed in 2001 and 2007. So for the past few years, it’s only been the four of us plus Poke and the kid(s), and occasionally my uncle and aunt. That’s it. My bio family? Completely different! My bio mom has three sisters and a brother, and I have nine cousins. There’s also four spouses/fiances with the cousins, three of bio mom’s siblings are married, and bio mom’s mom is still alive as well. Not everyone was at the 4th of July party, but it was very much a culture shock.

Despite being in a totally new situation with a whole crowd of people I’d never met (except my sibs, bio mom, and Gigi), it was awesome. From the very first minute, I was completely at ease. My bio aunt was worried about JI, the first wee little kid to be around in a while, getting into trouble or in a dangerous situation. They live on a big plot of land with lots of holes and trees and rocks and dog piles, so I got it. JI had a blast though, playing with my youngest cousin, who is twelve. They chased each other around, they chased the dogs, and thankfully they stayed out of trouble! Everyone wanted to hold Squeaks, but he was mostly comfortable in bio mom’s arms. He didn’t even want me! While JI ran around like a crazy man and Squeaks charmed everyone with his flirty faces, us older kids played cornhole, drank beers, and ate tons of delicious picnic food (which just happens to be my favorite food to eat in the summer!). It was the perfect day, culminating in a huge bonfire at the end of the night. So happy!

Sunday Poke came up around 1pm, and we met up with bio mom for some different authentic Italian food…. unfortunately the restaurant was closed due to the holiday, so we ended up at a Chinese buffet. Holy cow, it was great! Poke and I used to take JI to all these different Chinese buffets around Columbus, but most of them have closed or the quality has gone way down. The one at Chapel Hill was so so so good – quality food and lots of variety. I could have stayed another hour! Afterwards bio mom drove us around North Hill, the section of Akron where she and my siblings grew up. I got to see the house where I lived for a month after I was born, the houses where my siblings lived/live currently, and a few other landmarks, including the hospital where I was born. It was really special, knowing that all these spots had a real meaning in my life.

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My brother is the one in all black

When we got back to the hotel, JI and I went in the pool for a little bit, and then we all headed out to watch BD’s volleyball championship games. He is really good! I never thought volleyball was interesting until I watched these amateur (professionals?) play. It was fast paced and really fun. Even JI, who hates sitting still, sat and watched most of it! We went simple and hit up Applebee’s for dinner, which was actually pretty tasty! I don’t think we’ve eaten at Applebee’s for about two years and their menu has changed a lot.

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The boys at the hotel

Monday was checkout day, and I was up by 9:30am to get everything ready to go. Poke loaded up the van while I got the kids ready. Bio mom came by around 10:30am to check us out, and then we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Poke had never been to a Cracker Barrel before! I love it; one of my favorite breakfast places. JI was a bit salty for some reason, and actually broke a plate when he pushed it off the table. I had to draw on all my woo-sah and calmly implement the 1-2-3 Magic system that we’ve been using. After a four minute time out, JI was back in business and ended up being a lot better after that. Kids are so weird sometimes.

I was sad to leave, but I had such an amazing time that I know I will be able to get through the next few weeks until I see my bio family again. JI’s birthday is coming up in mid July, so we will probably head up there to celebrate. I can’t wait!

Cool and Creamy Treat

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Homemade ice cream is one of the easiest treats to make in the summer, especially if you have an ice cream maker. This recipe can be made without an ice cream maker, but JI loves to watch the mix go round and round and sneak bites of the half frozen ice cream. I like to make my mix a day ahead of time so that it can get super cold in the fridge, which helps it freeze faster in the ice cream machine.

Homemade Blueberry Ice Creamwpid-collage_20150528234658886_20150528235007578.jpg

  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, washed, dried, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 3 cups milk (1%)

Combine blueberries, 1/2 c milk,   1/2 c water, and sugar in a saucepan.

Heat on high, stirring constantly, until berries start to pop and sugar has dissolved.

Bring to just boiling, remove from heat, add remaining 3 c milk, stir. I use a whisk for all the stirring because it ensures that the sugar is incorporated and doesn’t become lumpy or stuck to any berries.

Chill overnight. (Note: If you are not using an ice cream machine, at this point you can just pour the mix into a freezer safe container and let it harden and enjoy once frozen, and you are done!)

Pour your chilled mix into the ice cream machine (or follow the machine’s directions) and let it go. I usually toss mine in the freezer for about 30 minutes prior to serving, to make sure it is completely frozen.

Enjoy!

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Stuck in the Middle

This post is post is about my adoptive mom vs me and my bio mom, a situation that I am really not too happy to be in right now.

We are having Squeaks baptized at the end of June, and I wanted to invite my bio family because, well, they’re family. I figured my mom would have an issue if I just did it without consulting her first, so I texted her and I said, “Would you be uncomfortable if I invited my bio family?” From that point on, all hope was lost.

She berated me for asking, saying that I never care about her feelings, that having them there is completely inappropriate, that they’re not family and it is nobody’s business that they are in my life. She lambasted me for saying that Texas is a better brother than Scrod (my adopted brother that I grew up with), even though I never said such a thing in person or online. What I did say was that Texas already did more for me on Mother’s Day by wishing me a happy one and saying he loved me than Scrod has done in a while (I didn’t get a Christmas gift or birthday gift or a call or even a card from the kid!). She said that bio mom is making me feel guilty for her giving me up, which is absolutely ridiculous because 1) I don’t feel guilty 2) How could I feel guilty, because I was a baby and 3) Bio mom has been super great about saying that if I need my space she will give me my space, and we have been trying to not overwhelm each other.

After that she launched into how I am a horrible wife, because I can’t get my husband under control (with his depression and mental health issues). I am not a good mother because my son is suffering and confused by everything that is going on (even though she didn’t even believe me that he had any disabilities until about six months ago), and because Poke and I allegedly fight constantly in front of the boys. Sure, JI has seen us fight, but we are definitely not fighting “constantly” because Poke is only here and awake for less than 20 hours a week! We literally don’t even have the time to fight, let alone do it in front of the kids. That’s why we go to counseling!

This afternoon, I received a letter from my mom (in the mail! Even though she came to my house today!) outlining all the ways I’ve made life as an adoptive mother difficult for her, and in the end she said that I am never again to speak to her about the situation. Maybe she was trying to be agreeable, but all the underhanded comments lead me to believe otherwise. I can understand that she may be confused, worried, upset, etc. by this new journey in my life, but I am in no way rubbing it in her face (what there is to rub, exactly, is beyond me) or intentionally making her feel bad. I haven’t even shared everything with her, because I know that some things would hurt her. But because I am a horrible daughter who cares not for her mother’s feelings, I keep some things to myself.

It really sucks that I cannot share my happiness with my mother. She’s seen me struggle with anxiety and some depression my entire life, and one would think that seeing her daughter so happy would be something that makes her happy. Instead she’s making it all about her, and really not looking at it from my point of view. So, I guess from now on I’ll just have to have two separate families. I’m like a kid in an 80s Christmas movie who desperately wants her parents to get along and get together and has attempted all kinds of crazy antics to make it happen. But, in the end, the parents will not get together and life will go on with the new normal.

A Very Happy Mother’s Day

On Saturday, my phone rang at 9:38am, and I knew it was bio mom calling with news regarding the big reveal to her (my) family that I had found her. I had a feeling that she would be calling, and I had a feeling that on the other end would be my brothers and sister, and I was correct! I got to speak with each one of them, which was amazing, and I also got to speak with my sister-in-law. I will be labelling them as such: BD, Texas, and Sissy. So now you know!

wpid-collage_20150513112143505_20150513112341256.jpgI was on the phone with the four of them for almost an hour, and JI even talked to BD for a little bit. I was surprised and happy that the conversation flowed so easily. My mom had always told me that they might not be interested in me because they wouldn’t want to share their mother or would be afraid that I would steal her away from them. Well, reality could not be further from that line of thought. All three siblings have been completely welcoming, totally loving, and absolutely so excited to get to know me. Texas has so far been the most open and in contact, calling me nearly every day and texting me all the time. He even dropped the L-Bomb, as in “I love you”, on me on Mother’s Day!

My whole life, I was nervous that I would be rejected for the reasons mentioned above. I always wanted more siblings, but I never thought I would have them – and I certainly never thought they would be so incredibly awesome right off the bat! I told Texas that it has been so strange for me so far, because I am not used to having so much unconditional love thrown my way. He said “You’re my sister. There’s no other choice.” I cried.

Lola and Lulu came over on Saturday night for pizza and playtime, and it was very nice. JI still struggles with playing with other kids, but he loves Lulu, and we all had a good time. We even took a walk to the park and played at the playground! Lulu helped feed Squeaks, and we very proud of herself for being a good big sister. I love it!

Sunday we went to my parents’ house for lunch and to celebrate Mother’s Day. For my mom, mil, and bio mom I had the boys make a flower and butterfly painting with their handprints and footprints, and we got them a card and flowers as well. I got a $25 card to Michael’s! Yay! Craft time! Poke got me a DeWalt drill and professional bit set – don’t worry, it was exactly what I wanted, and I even put it in the Amazon cart so all he had to do was click. I love power tools! I have to admit that I was kinda bummed that I didn’t get a card or anything personal from Poke or the boys, because a little surprise would have been nice, but I guess that’s my own fault for not telling him I wanted that. We had sloppy joes and mac’n’cheese at my parents’, which are two of my favorite foods that my mom makes. We sat around and relaxed, and it was just very nice. We talked a little bit about bio mom/bio family, but I kept it to a minimum because I didn’t want any arguments or negativity on Mother’s Day.

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When we got home, I called bio mom. It was around 8:30pm, and we’d talked for a few minutes before I had to run to the store. Poke took the boys to his mom’s house to drop off her gifts, and so I could have some quiet to talk on the phone. Well, bio mom and I ended up being on the phone for about five hours. We didn’t hang up until about 1:30am! She told me all about herchildhood and growing up, she told me about the circumstances surrounding my conception, birth, and adoption, and confirmed that BD and I are, in fact, full brother and sister! YAY! Fullsies!

I found out a few surprising bits of information, such as bio mom knew my name for years, and had even been following my
old restaurant review blog, Little Plastic Spoons. Bio mom had also been in contact a few times over the years with my mom, which was both comforting and irritating to me. I was comforted because I had always wondered if bio mom knew I was okay, and I never knew if she knew I was okay, and now I knew that she did know. I was irritated because my mom hid it from me, and even though I’m pretty sure I understand why, I don’t think it was fair to me. Why couldn’t she have let me know her earlier? Especially when my health issues started popping up, especially when I needed my health history, which is all I wanted prior to this? I feel like she was being selfish and trying to keep me all to herself.

That did come up between my mom and I on Sunday, and she said, “Well, I’m just happy she (bio mom) doesn’t live here. She’d want to be over all the time and visiting and seeing the kids.” Uh… and? She is my bio mom. She’s not going to take anything away from my mom. I’ve reassured my mom of this fact a million times in my life, and yet she still has to be insecure and almost bitter about it. It really hurts me that she can’t easily let me have a relationship with both of them. She’s my mom, she raised me, she put in the time and effort and pain and tears and everything. I’m not just going to drop her! First of all, I’m not that type of person, to drop one for another. Second, that is probably one of the most hurtful scenarios I can imagine, which makes it even more painful to think that she thinks I would do it to her. As one of my readers commented, why is it okay for parents to love multiple children but not okay for children to love multiple parents?

In the end, Mother’s Day was very happy for me. I can’t wait to meet my bio family, I can’t wait to hug them and kiss them and introduce them to my husband and my sons. I can’t wait for family picnics and BBQs and all that good stuff that comes with a big family. I just can’t wait to see how this all develops.