Forever, We Love You ….

I love you, Babygirl.

Tonight my heart is heavy as I sit here quietly, tired from summer exams, and exhausted from missing you with every passing moment.

I wish you were here….

Love,

~ Auntie

My Niece, My Love …. Come Home, Your Family is Waiting ….

Dearest Babygirl….

I’m just about finished up with summer semester and had the time of my life … Can’t wait for fall !

I went to Santa Cruz and had an incredible 4th of July, the fireworks were going off for days leading up to the campout on the beach.

This weekend a concert, then driving right up to Reno for Hot August Nights ( something I went to for fifteen years in a row until I last saw the love of my life alive there, I haven’t been back since.) I’m finally going again and I’m anxious for the car show, the food and music, and running into friends I haven’t seen in way too long.

I’ve been slowly beginning to live again. I am finding a way to balance waiting in joy, limiting the grief-stricken state I’ve been trapped in for so long. I’m feeling free, my spirit is full of love and it feels like I’m floating. I’m being appreciated, I’m being loved, I’m being understood, I’ve taken time to ‘be still.’

I feel blessed, excited for the future. I’m embracing every opportunity of love and laughter. I started writing poetry again. I’ve escaped in my photography, I’m writing all sorts of non-fiction again… I’m finding myself … The best ‘me’ I’ve ever been. You can see it all over me, you can feel it when I’m in the room… People drawn to me are finally being allowed a quarter-of-an-inch passed my electrified fence.

My love, I want you to know… I love you more with each passing day. I can’t get you off my mind. I wish and dream for us, I pray, I wait in love for you. I become more calm the more I trust in the Lord. I put this all in God’s hands many, many years ago, and I believe in Him to fix all this mess. I’m living for you Babygirl, being everything I can be, helping anyone I can, being my best… Everything I do, is for you or because of you, and it’s all worth it. If you only knew how much you continue to captivate our hearts …. Come home, sweet love….

Catching My Baby Up At 2:11 AM ….

Since the week before my birthday on the first day of Spring in March, I have done all sorts of fun and fabulous things. With my niece always on my mind,  I have these amazing experiences. I’ve squeezed in every fun thing I can think of because I am finally understanding the magnitude of the fact that ‘life-is-too-short.’

Two concerts in the last couple months and another concert the first weekend in September, two Santa Cruz getaways, an incredible 4th July on the beach, Just got a new tattoo a couple of days ago, Hot August Nights coming up in Reno, The Bay Bombs car show next month, Movies on the Beach at Santa Cruz every Wednesday, Taking summer college classes, Las Vegas in September, Christmas at a world-famous Hot Springs and resort in Genoa, NV, Puerto Rico in Spring…. It’s all moving fast but I’m loving it and wouldn’t have it any other way.

It feels as though I’ve gotten my wings back and I’m embracing all things wonderful. I’m doing things that make me happy, I’m doing things that are bringing me back to life. I’m doing all the things I used to do but stopped doing after this situation took place. I’m always going somewhere new and outrageous and people love that I keep all their lives exciting too as I drag them with me all over the place! There’s several plays coming up that I’m going to, and a weekend split between the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Francisco and the Secret Garden  in Oakland.

I started a Bible Study a few nights ago and that in itself has made me a little stronger by the day. I’m taking control but letting God take the lead and I’ve never found such happiness. This is the first writing break I have taken in ten years and there are days where I am itching to tap the keys but I remind myself of why I need to stick to this time of rejuvenation and reflection. I keep the hope that this rest will only help me uplift my spirit so I will be better all around. A little time off is not something I should persecute myself for.

So I just wanted to catch my babygirl up on what her auntie is doing; feeling elated and inspired. I feel less imprisoned. I am smiling, I am laughing, I am making time for impromptu picnics, I’m pulling over to capture beautiful images on film. I am all-in when it comes to my emotions and actions.

This is honestly the most empowered I have felt in over ten years. I feel like things are coming into focus. I’m able to resist temptations, I am able to sleep. Faith and fulfillment have replaced the constant sorrow and emptiness. I’m loved, I’m blessed, I’m loyal and fun to be around again. I’m way better than I ever was and it has been great getting to spend time working on me. Getting myself back has been a miracle in itself.

Even though I’m taking this little time for myself, not a moment goes by that I don’t think of my niece. I think of her everyday. I miss her every day, and that will never change ….

Sitting Under The Stars ….

For the first time in a very long time, I’m taking a little guilt-free ‘me’ time because I feel like I will come undone if I don’t. I’ve run full steam ahead for ten years (at least) straight and it’s time for me to rest a bit, have a fun summer, and to give myself a break. I’ve been making an appointment with myself to just sit under the stars, in the stillness, in the quiet. I feel more at peace than I ever have, acknowledging every priceless moment and every blessing in my life.

I haven’t been able to write very much lately because so much has been going on. Things have been busy, but I feel really good about all the positive things happening. It’s like the skies have cleared and one by one, my dreams are slowly coming true. All the passion I’ve poured into everything is starting to pay off in big ways and from every angle.

The hard work, the sleepless nights, the get-up-and-go, kissing my fingertips and putting them on my niece’s picture as I hurry out the door… School, running the house, getting kids to college, all the cooking and get-togethers for all the recent boxing events, including this past Saturday for the Miguel Cotto fight, making a summer itinerary, planning our 4th of July at Santa Cruz, planning a baptism… Myself and my services are always being needed and I’m always feeding everyone (smile, here).

I have one of those oversized monthly planners that I use to keep track of ‘ my own self ‘ and everyone I take care of. I make the world go round for a lot of people and have never made that much-needed time for myself. I came to the conclusion not too long ago, that in order for me to be at my best, I need to still ‘do me.’ I’ve always taken care of every thing and everyone, and I made a decision and a promise to spend time with myself this particular year because quite frankly, I don’t know what has happened in the past ten years. It’s been such a tornado that time doesn’t exist while you’re going through it. All I know is it has taken serious effort to get through each day. Everyone that loves me has gone through it all with me, and they continue to be patient and compassionate, knowing full well that we are all in for a long ride, and I don’t mean a fun one like a road trip.

Court, paperwork, unanswered questions, complaints, ‘anger black-outs’ , writing, wondering, eyes so puffy and sore from crying that just touching them hurts. I wished consistently to erase my memory of the last ten years. Yes, great things happened in that time, but so did an awful lot of heartbreaking things. Strange things, dangerous things, magical things, life and death things, life-changing things, life-altering things; way too much happened in that ‘short’ time and just thinking about some of it now gives me a headache.

It has drained me, it’s exhausting, confusing, frustrating… the same emotions being rolled around then popping up like Bingo numbers, in random order. Until this happened to us, I didn’t know that nightmares can happen during the day when you’re wide awake. I’ve been so wrapped up in tragedy that I feel like I’ve blocked out the trauma and I have very few memories of the last 3,650 days. Happy times I remember, the days of crying and withdrawl, I have little to no memory of. I’m so glad I wrote because it helped me to survive and it helped me to tell our story. Getting it out was half the battle. The ‘silence’ of this ‘secret’ makes me enraged, and I feel it is absolutely justifiable.

Every special thing always being bittersweet because my niece is gone and my sister and all of us are hurting so badly. Happy is never all the way, a constant feeling of ‘something isn’t right.’ There’s no pamphlet explaining how to get through something like this, there was never a plan made to make it through such a violent storm, no instructions on how to help life go on when you feel like you’re dead or wanting to die, in constant mourning, grief-stricken…. I, as we all were, changed forever, each of us now unrecognizable to each other.

Once so full of life and love, turned into ‘God, please help me make it through this.’ Living with a heart in pieces, trying to show love to those I do, it’s an issue I have to deal with and tackle daily. I’m very careful with who I let into my home, my heart, my personal space…. I simply won’t trust just yet, and I will stay guarded on high-alert until finally I’m ready to take baby steps into finding my way back to whatever ‘normal’ is, if I ever do at all.

I will be very honest and say that throughout this ordeal, quite a few things have been broken. Whatever was nearest to me, I smashed, threw, ripped…. anything possible trying to get this rage out. I make sure I’m alone in the house or the beach at night, and I quite literally, have the breakdown I deserve in privacy. I can’t allow anyone to see me cry my eyes out because I have to be the strong one, I have to get them through this even though I can barely get myself through it. I’ve punched everything from fences to walls, even the ground when this hurt made my knees buckle. It has been so hard, and I refuse to keep saying that I’m okay, when I’m not. I should be allowed to vent without someone saying ‘ if that happened to us, I would do X-Y-Z.’

We have lost a child in cruel and unusual way, and I should not feel ashamed that this is hitting me so incredibly hard. Each day is like a crap shoot, sometimes I’m on Cloud-9, sometimes I’m in the pit of despair. This is the only part of my life I can’t get under control or even get a slight grip on. I’m hurting, I’m mad, I’m feeling emotions there are no words for. I need understanding and extra love to make it through this. I don’t need judgment, we don’t need judgment. We need prayers and justice. We weren’t crazy and horrible monsters before this happened, and just because we have extra security around us now, doesn’t make us those things even today.

It’s vital that I take this time to rejuvenate, to get pampered, to go to concerts, to make great food to eat around the family table. I want to pack everyone in the car and go on our night trips like we’ve always done. The drive-in, the Japanese Tea Gardens, Performing Arts, Movies on the Beach at Santa Cruz, I need to embrace this time that I’m dedicating to myself. This break I’m taking is all for me… I need to rediscover, I need to contemplate, deliberate, I need to go for walks in the Hayward Hills, I need to play Dominoes with my boys, I need to make dinner with my girl, I need to listen when God is telling me not to wait in sorrow.

So over the next few months, my writing may seem a bit off subject, but it’s only because I want to share the lighter side of my spirit. I want my niece, and anyone who reads my blog and follows our story to see that I’m finding happiness, reclaiming some of what was taken from me. I had to shut down and now it’s time I let my healing be the primary focus. I want to wake up in-hope and go to sleep in-love, I want to laugh more than I cry, I want to accept and appreciate the wonderful blessings in my life, instead of pushing everything good away. I want to know that somewhere in there is the ‘ wisher, dreamer, believer ‘ I always was….

Just Do It The Right Way ….

From time to time, I feel that I’m sort of expected to address how I feel about adoptions. Almost eleven years of going through one firsthand, I feel I’ve earned my right to speak my piece on the matter. The time we’ve been embroiled in this whirlwind makes me physically ill when I think about not only what we’ve lost and missed out on, but how much time and energy and strength and love it has taken to have made it this far.

I just think adoptions should be morally and ‘humanely’ carried out. And if those that took part in this adoption thought they were doing the right thing, then why was it all done in secret, in the dark?

Why was it done in a rush?

Why was it handled by everyone but my sister?

Why was Lupita given ANYTHING?

Why didn’t this adoptive ‘mother’ not put her master’s degree in psychology to good use and realize that my sister was alone and afraid, and that she shouldn’t be making those kinds of life-altering decisions without her family behind her for love and support? Was she so desperate for a child that she chose to look the other way when alarm bells should have been going off?

She took advantage of my sister at her most vulnerable time of her life, and you can’t convince me she didn’t know the destruction it would leave behind. In my opinion, she just wanted to get her hands on the one thing she could never have on her own, no matter what it took. I can’t say the one thing she couldn’t buy because let’s not forget all the ‘goodies’ Lupita got.

My niece was not for sale, and to this day this awful couple have her believing that she is their daughter, not telling her that we fought to bring her home since the very hour we found out. They are still playing this charade, and it hurts me to think of how my niece will feel when this is all finally brought to light because every thing done in the dark, shall be brought to light at some point. They’re only going to be able to play house for just a bit longer, because the moment she turns eighteen their paperwork and ‘exhibits’ aren’t going to matter. My niece will have the legal right to know everything and to finally reunite with the family she was meant to be a part of. A family who still hangs her stocking up every year knowing she won’t even see it for some time to come.

We have scrapbooks we have made for her, letters we have written to her, special gifts that one day we hope we will see her unwrap. We’ve set aside family heirlooms, we’ve made a sort of time-capsule. We’re doing everything that they can’t take from us. We’re still doing all we can, and as the family ‘spokesperson’ I’m forced to be the squeaky wheel because until our accusations are addressed, I will not stop sending complaints, making calls, leaving messages, sending emails, doing whatever it takes because we deserve answers.

I keep saying that the more I find out about adoption, the less I want to know, (candidly) because there are so many horror stories. It’s like you can’t ever ” unfeel ” the emotions that such a sensitive subject brings out of you. There needs to be reform, there needs to be awareness.

For the record, I am very much in favor of adoption. When the circumstances are right, when all parties involved are in it together, when all other options have been exhausted, there are no living relatives or other necessary resources, when nothing is being hidden, when gifts aren’t being given or received, pretty common sense, unwritten moral and ethical standards. Adoption should be the last option possible. The breaking up of a family is very serious, the effects are a life-sentence, and it literally changes one’s very identity. It needs to be talked through, counseling should be required, the laws desperately need to be changed.

Like most things in life, there’s a ‘right’ way and a ‘wrong’ way to do things. Human decency never goes out of style and if all isn’t on the up and up, then I have to say, I cannot be in favor of adoptions such as those.

It’s a fine line, and it’s sharp.

The bottom line is; be careful, be honest, be genuine, be mindful of feelings and the short as well as long-term effects that inevitably follow. Don’t ‘ hold a child hostage ‘ from their family. Realize that children are human beings, they have family traditions and bloodlines, they have a right to know who they truly are. Don’t swoop in like a vulture or sneak in like a thief in the night …. there is just no way to justify that.

Think it through, and not ‘ just ‘ for you.

Lupita, Do You Wear Your Bracelet? ….

There are many things that make our story unique and unbelievable.

The whole set up was exactly that, a setup.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but when you set up an adoption and receive gifts and trips, and who knows what else, that IS selling a baby, isn’t it?.

You don’t just get Tiffany & Co. jewelry and a plane ticket to a baby shower and fancy dinners when you’re just there for “moral support.” Keep in mind that Lupita was supposedly on my sister’s side, meanwhile having no problem reaping the benefits of my sister’s pain and confusion.

My sister, the mother of my niece, never accepted any such gifts nor was she offered such royal treatment like Lupita.

Of course there are so many questions that burn in my mind, but one of the biggest is; does Lupita wear that engraved bracelet ( my sister’s wasn’t engraved or accepted by her ) that she was given by the couple that have my niece?

Does she go out on the town and flash her shiny jewelry, hiding the fact that she was one of those directly responsible for the utter destruction of a family?

I wonder if she wears it to feel more important, to impress her few, if any, friends.

I also wonder if she wears that bracelet at all. I wonder if she hides it in a shoebox in a closet or in the bottom drawer of a jewelry box. I wonder if she hides it away, acting like nothing ever happened. I wonder what she stuffed her face with at dinners with the adoptive couple, my sister not even being there. I wonder if she flew first class or coach to the baby shower she was the guest of honor at.

What kind of person thinks it’s okay to profit from the agony and misery of others?

We all feel extra betrayed because we knew our enemy, very well. We lived directly across the street from this heartless, self-serving, manipulative wolf in sheep’s clothing.

I want to know if those “things” she got were worth it.

How dare she do something like this and then have the audacity to accept anything?

How can she even sleep at night?