Monday, November 8, 2010

To parent is to care

Months of awareness are not a new thing, I remember years ago when October was declared breast cancer awareness month and I was asked to wear a pink ribbon to show my support. I did so  proudly for the entire month.  I recall hearing about other months being dedicated to other causes but for some reason October always stood out.
I am not sure when it happened but in the past number of years more and more causes have been given a month to be remembered in and now it seems as though each month has multiple themes.  It is November and this month we are being asked to acknowledge, support and learn a about a variety of issues including but not limited to adoption, family caregivers, diabetes, blogging and prostate cancer.
Two of these causes are near and dear to me, adoption and family caregivers because both of them touch my life each and everyday.
As I sat down to write today I recalled the first post that I ever wrote for Hopeful Parents way back in our first days here. I love this piece and I decided that rather than write a new one I would repost this one because it sums up for me what it means to be a adoptive parent, a caregiver, a mother.
My name is J. and I am a parent.

I am a Mother to 2 beautiful boys, they were not nurtured by my body, nor did I know them for the first years of there lives but I am no less their mother then the woman who conceived them.

I did not breastfeed them as infants or change their diapers. I did not see their first steps or hear their first words. But I know the things that make them giggle and cry now. I dry their tears, chase away monsters, protect them from the bullies at school, yell at them when they drive me crazy and tickle them as we walk through the grocery store. I buy them treats when I am out because I know that they will love that toy or book but I will never really know what they were like as little boys.

Sometimes I feel as though I missed out by not having the privilege of being their Mom sooner. If they had come here first, instead of being with the four other Moms they had between leaving their birth family and coming to their forever family. Sometimes I cry because it makes me so sad to know that these two little men had to go through so much to make it here and wouldn’t it of been easier if it hadn’t happened that way.

However, five years ago when these boys had to leave their birth family I was not ready to be their Mom, sometimes I wonder if I am ready now. Five years ago I was falling in love and getting married, making plans and dreaming about helping kids who needed families to love them.

I did not think it would happen quite like this, that we would adopt the first two who walked through our door, knowing that we would keep them even before we met them. I thought there would be many kids coming and going first, that there would be time for me to wrap my head around being a parent. To figure out what worked for me and my husband, time to discover how we would parent together. I thought there would be few practice runs with kids that needed a home for a few weeks or months while their birth families got back on their feet. You know, kind of like taking a niece or nephew for the weekend when you are pregnant to getting a taste of being a parent full time.

Life is not always what you planned, things do not always work out the way that you wanted or expected them to.
So here I am,  a Mom to two precious boys who need a lot from me. Our days are busy, they are filled with exciting and frustrating moments. My kids have struggles and challenges that other kids will never have to face. But they are my children and  I will love, nurture and respect them through each and every struggle, challenge and exhausting moment because that is what Mom’s do.
Today I would like to challenge you to do two things in the month of November to help spread awareness about adoption and family caregivers.
Spread word in whatever way you can about adoption and the need for homes for thousands of special children that need to have hopeful parents of their very own.
Please think of a family caregiver you know that is struggling right now and do something nice for them. Perhaps you could  bake them some cookies, drop a card in the mail or even just give them a call, find a way to let them know that they are not alone. Then challenge others to so the same for people they know.
"In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle
and comes back to us."
Flora Edwards
J. blogs at Stellar Parenting 101 where she tries to remember to look for the hope in the glimmers of light she sees even on the darkest days.

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