Archive | January 2014

If She Only Knew

I love her more than I could ever explain.

I miss her so much when I close my eyes, I see her little face.

I wish I could take care of her and see her grow and discover.

I dream of hearing her laugh and seeing her play.

I think of her throughout the day and dream of her most nights.

I imagine the memories we’ll one day get to make.

I pray she will come home and stay with us forever.

If she only knew….

 

One Day It Will Be Okay

Although I am a night owl, the afternoon of a rainy day calms my restlessness. I really enjoyed the cloudy day today. A mug of hot chocolate, a good book, relaxing in my getaway in the backyard.

I love taking these little breaks between creating lesson plans and planning events, both of which are year round and take a lot of time. I’ve mapped out every detail for one event after another; Superbowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day, a graduation celebration, an 18th birthday party, a quadruple baptism, two baby showers, a trip to Puerto Rico, and that’s just booking through May. I’m always being pulled in a million directions so this quiet time is essential.

A couple of years ago, I decided I really had to start taking care of myself again, not just taking care of everyone else and worrying myself sick, and it’s been a lot harder than it sounds. I had to spend time with myself, alone, figuring out what I liked and what made me smile because after neglecting myself for so long, I didn’t feel like I knew myself at all. So I’ve made it a point to pamper myself with little things like a pedicure, and haven’t been spending endless hours cooking and cleaning but instead doing things to make me feel renewed.

 It’s so easy to get lost in the hurt of this tragic situation, but I’ve been making it a point to look ahead and think positive. Just because there’s nothing I can do now doesn’t mean I will be bound and helpless forever. God is in the business of miracles and I believe that one day we will be granted one. It  gives me great comfort to know that He is keeping track of our tears, our worries, our wants, and our deepest hopes.

So as I wait anxiously for my niece to come home, I’ve decided not to fall apart any further. Despair has kept me from living, kept me from seeing all the wonderful and beautiful things around me. I want to focus on blessings not disappointments. I want to look up and not down. I feel like everything is going to be okay, everything will work out….

Love Letters ….

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Before I decided to write a formal account of the adoption, I began writing handwritten letters to my niece. I wanted to share certain thoughts and feelings with her that are very personal, things I want to remain just between she and I.

Putting your heart on paper is a really intimate thing, revealing your innermost feelings a little bit at a time. I wanted my words to have a personal touch so that all the love I feel would radiate from the pages. A box full of letters wrapped with a pink ribbon, a time capsule on pretty stationery. It means everything to me to leave something of great importance to the little girl who has captured my heart. One day she’ll know that she was always with me, always on my mind, always in my prayers.

Love letters…. wishes and dreams …. dedicated to my beloved niece…. 

 

The Biological “Father”: Wouldn’t Acknowledge Paternity, But Signed My Niece Away Anyway

I never liked this guy from the start. I only met him a few times but I just didn’t like him.

I didn’t like the way he talked to my sister, I didn’t like the way he treated my sister, and I hate the way he abandoned my sister in her most desperate time. It was his child she was carrying, he was well aware of it, although he blatantly denied it.

He left her to fend for herself, not being there for her in any way, emotionally, financially, or otherwise.

He was a little boy pretending to be a man, and he was more than willing to walk away from his responsibilities.

But that isn’t the worst of it.

Our families had no choice but to speak over the phone the night before we went to court to determine the custody of my niece. As the head of the family, my father placed a call to Daryl’s mother, Paula. After a long discussion, Paula told my father that yes, they would help us to have Nevaeh returned to us, and Daryl would not relinquish his rights. They agreed that this baby had much family to love and support her, my father even stated that we would draw up papers relinquishing Daryl of any payments for child support.

I remember all of us sitting around the kitchen island at my parent’s house while they were on the phone. I can’t even find the words to describe the desperation we all felt, and still feel. It was just not an option to have one of our own be taken off to be raised by strangers when our family was more than willing and capable. Never in a million years did I ever think we would be in a battle for our own baby.

After sitting on pins and needles, feeling like the room was spinning, all of a sudden we saw a look on my dad’s face, he lit up and said, ” oh thank you, Paula, this baby needs to be with her mom and family and we’ll handle everything.” A little more discussion which I can’t remember because I was so elated, and that was that.

He hung up the phone, we all cried, we laughed, we were love drunk. We breathed a sigh of relief, our baby was coming home to her rightful place. We had already gotten her a diaper bag, clothes, and blankets, which still sit on a shelf in my mother’s private closet.

Everything was going to be okay, we started talking about everything we were going to do. Painting her tiny toes and when she got bigger, out for ice cream. A simple but beautiful love and bond was already there. We saw a wonderful future and we looked at each other and were never so strong or in love with each other. We were a family that rallied together, just as we still do. We look after each other and take care of each other.

It was a long night. We were all so physically and mentally wiped out that by the time we went to sleep it was almost time to get up for court. I’ll never forget that morning. It was the worst day of my life.

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We arrived at the courthouse.

I remember standing there, looking around. Lawyers, suits, briefcases. I felt sick to my stomach then, and I feel sick thinking about it now.

Our lawyer came over to us, and said, ” he signed away his rights this morning.”

My sister screamed.

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All these years later, I still can’t believe how that went down. Daryl denying over and over that he was the father and wouldn’t even submit to a paternity test, but signed her away like nothing. Paula, his mother, already had more than one son under her roof paying child support for kids they didn’t see. I guess they thought it was easier to give her to strangers, rather than keep her with her family than for them to possibly have to pay a dime for her.

They signed her away to avoid any responsibility, although we needed nothing from them. I don’t know who is worse, Lupita who set it up and profited from the adoption; or Daryl and his family, that knew the situation and turned a blind-eye.

Daryl never lifted a finger for my niece, and when he did, it was the middle one. He’s simply pathetic, no excuse. We stood up to fight, and he put his tail between his legs, just like his mom showed him how to do.

Right Here Waiting….

Tonight as I drove home across the bridge in San Francisco, I was taken aback by all the beautiful lights of the city. The water looked so peaceful and for that brief time I was at peace. I felt completely free. I allowed myself to not hurt for just a few minutes and the relief I felt was wonderful.

Someone very close to me told me recently that this situation and these people who caused all this turmoil in our lives don’t get to rob me of every piece of happiness, which they have done so far, and I took that completely to heart.

Since my niece has been gone, I felt like I should never be happy. I didn’t want to smile because I thought I should only cry. I felt like how dare I enjoy a moment without her. But I realized that this isn’t my fault, this isn’t my sister’s fault, this isn’t my family’s fault. We never asked for this, we didn’t deserve it, and we tried everything to make it right.

God answers prayers. He knows a heavy, restless heart. I believe with all my broken heart that one day it will be mended. I look so forward to the day that I can finally get a good night’s sleep, when I can let my mind rest. No more racing thoughts, no more giving half of my attention, no more feeling like I just want to just jump out of my skin. I’ve wrapped myself in this protective armor since this happened,  barely allowed anyone into my heart, and have remained profoundly guarded for far too long. I slowly feel this ice around my heart melting. I’ve always said that love is the strongest force, and I truly believe that love will lead my niece home.

Life-Changing; Exactly What It Sounds Like

Every part of this has been hard, and we never in a million years thought we’d be going through such a thing. We never made a plan for our baby being sold away by our neighbor. We never contemplated what we would do if someone ripped out our still beating hearts. It’s so hard to deal with something you never planned for. One minute things are great, the next we have been thrust into this alternate universe.

The big deal about life-changing events is that they change you for life; from that moment forward, everything you ever knew is different and nothing will ever be the same. It’s a daily struggle, and it takes effort every moment to pull yourself up out of the despair. Things you thought were important no longer matter, and the things you overlooked and never appreciated before now become vital to your very existence.

It has been overwhelming to say the least. Lawyers, judges, family court, monitors, demands, paperwork, ridiculous rules, enormous injustice.. I wish I could just make it all go away. The very word adoption makes my stomach turn.

Going through this has been such a lonely road. No one I’ve ever told about this has ever even heard of such a thing, and talking about it amongst ourselves in the family is so awful that I wish I could erase the memories of breakdowns-past.

I see the tears running down our faces, the confusion in our eyes, the despair in our hearts. Even though we feel like dying inside every moment, we smile and hide the sadness the best we can. We try to go on without ever moving on, we do our best to maintain. We’re trying our best to survive this horrible and seemingly hopeless situation. We have rebuilt around niece, not without her.  We hold her so close emotionally in our hearts that she really is always with us.

It means so much to me to have this blog, a place where I can vent and dream, a running record of the rollercoaster. To have strangers from around the world reach out to me, reading our story, comforting reassurances and telling me I’m not alone, helps me beyond words. It really isn’t easy spilling details that are essentially in my “diary”, telling the most painful details of something I can’t wrap my brain around, something I’ll probably never understand.

Life-changing… exactly.

It Takes Everything …. and There’s Nothing I Wouldn’t Give

patience. strength. absolute love. endurance. courage. faith. prayers. time. energy. hope. creativity. ambition. perseverance. self-control….

Ongoing, all-consuming, it takes everything, all the time.

Never giving up on what I believe in and understanding that the greater the struggle, the greater the reward.