Soul in Yearning: Fostering & Adoption

The world that we live in is not a world that I am happy about. You would think that as a society we would be more evolved, but the truth of the matter is that we are not where we need to be. Not just in America, but everywhere. Racism is still lingering around, causing harm and pain everywhere you look. People who belong to the LGBTQ+ community are being told by others that they love that they made “the wrong choice” or that “they are not good enough.” Women are still fighting for their rights. People who are seeking asylum in “safe havens” are being turned away for not having thousands of dollars to pay to legally be there. This world is not where it needs to be. 

As a woman, I can admit that things have improved, and I can thank the women of the past who gave me the opportunities that I now have. I can vote, I can obtain birth control, I can work any job that any man can work, and I can speak my mind. (With that being said, we cannot deny that human trafficking, child marriage, and slavery is still a horrifying reality in our world.) So because of the rights that I have, I can have any career that I want. I can be a doctor, a contractor, a history professor, whatever I want. 

Now with that being said, I don’t think there was ever a time where I have wanted to run towards a certain career path. It is interesting because there are women out there who said “I can’t wait to become a nurse” who became nurses. The same with teachers, accountants, business owners, etc. That was never me. I love to write, and I am making a career out of that, but it’s not my biggest dream. Every time I publish a piece that I am proud of I do feel my self-esteem going up, but it’s not enough where I feel like I really have accomplished a dream. 

My dream has always been something that you still could consider to be a “job.” And from what I hear, it is one of the most challenging jobs around. I have always, and when I say always I truly mean ALWAYS, wanted to be a stay at home mom. I remember being a young girl and playing with baby dolls and feeling as if I were on cloud nine. I remember thinking of names and sticking with those names for years. Penelope and Oliver. I even had the nicknames picked out. I used to daydream about finding out that I was pregnant and telling my partner, and us crying for hours due to the elation that we felt. (The dramatics) To this day, I still have recurring dreams of pregnancy and birth, and my husband and I holding our child for the first time. Those dreams are starting to fade though, and new dreams are starting to come forth. And I love them and yearn for them just as much. 

I found out a few months ago that it would be highly unlikely for me to conceive and carry my own child. You would think that it would hurt. You would think that it felt as if a dagger was plunged right into my heart. But I have known that the likelihood of me having biological children was slim to none since I was a young teenager. I have PCOS, which is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which makes it very difficult to conceive. I have to take birth control in order to get my period every month, otherwise, I could go months in-between periods. I am not ovulating if I am not getting my period, and in order to get my period consistently, I need to be on birth control, which will prevent me from getting pregnant. The fucking irony, am I right?  My doctor said “sure, you can lose weight, but your body still won’t be able to carry a child safely.” At one point my husband and I went probably two years without using birth control or condoms, and yet here I am. Childfree. The woman who has dreamed about being a mother for her entire life, (well, for as long as can remember) can’t have children. I feel as if I am the leading character in a tragedy.

I made my peace long ago with alternative ways of expanding our family, and to be honest, thinking about those opportunities bring the same, if not more, excitement with the notion of bringing tiny humans into our world. There is a way where my husband and I could have a biological child, and that is through surrogacy. Not only will that be difficult in more ways than one, but it’s also costly. My husband and I are a younger couple, so dropping tens of thousands of dollars on something that is more likely to not work is out of the question. So then I started researching and looking into other options. Then I found my answer, and that was when my soul lit up. Adoption. Fostering. Foster to adopt. That is the answer. That is what I have spent my entire life looking for. My flame came back and it was brighter than ever, and I deep dived into what that world would be like and what kind of parent I could be to my child(ren.) Then I started daydreaming of new moments. I started daydreaming of the moment when Stephen (my husband) and I received the phone call that we were matched with a child. I started thinking about learning everything that there is to know about them, including their dreams and aspirations. I started to think about how I can teach them about values and morals, and how I would show them that it is okay to stand up for what you believe in, including yourself. I want to show them that this world isn’t perfect, but it sure is beautiful. I envision giving them everything that I have just to watch them smile for a few moments, and my heart starts to melt. 

I feel like I love a child that I don’t even have yet. I don’t wake up at the butt crack of dawn to wake my child up for school. I don’t hear “mommy” yet. I have five furchildren, and I know that they love me and my heart is so full because of them, but I want to be a mother to human children so, so, so badly. Instead of pregnancy dreams, I dream of a young boy. Ten to be exact. And I see him in the dead of night multiple times a week every week. And then I think about him all day long and I yearn for him. I know my son is out there in the world just waiting for me to find him. Little does he know, he is already so loved. 

For years I warned my husband that there was always a chance that we would never parent biological children, and he always would say “Don’t worry Bebe. We will be parents no matter what.” But I think he held on to hope despite his encouraging words. I think this because of his tone after my gynecologist appointment a few months back. You could hear the shock and the sadness after I told him what my doctor had said. For me, it was important to focus on how Stephen was feeling after hearing that information rather than placing focus on myself. I had already worked past that painful information. I was able to embrace our new reality with open arms and accept that we will be parents, just not through blood. Stephen, as much as he was always supportive of the idea of adoption, still was hoping that there would be a medical miracle and we would conceive. I asked him what he needed from me, I tried to comfort him the best that I could, and I gave him time to process the information before bringing up the next steps. I wanted him to work through his pain, and I wanted to help him the best way that I could. 

A few months went by and we started talking about when we should start the process of fostering. Our goal is to foster to adopt, but we are aware of how difficult and lengthy of a process that can be. It doesn’t matter to us what ethnicity our children are, it doesn’t matter to us if they are apart of the LGBTQ+ community, we will welcome any child that needs and wants a loving home. Our goal is for adoption, but we are more than happy to foster and open our home to children who need one. For a little bit, we stalled on starting the process of becoming parents simply because we didn’t know when the right time would be. The reality is there never will be the perfect time to become parents. All we know is that we are ready now, and we are willing to do whatever it takes. 

So we filled out an inquiry with DCFS, and now our journey has officially begun. I am so unbelievably filled with excitement, eagerness, anxiety, and nerves. The only fear that I have is that Stephen and I won’t be approved, but I know that we will be okay. I keep telling myself that in eight to twelve months, all of this will be in the past and I can officially enjoy the present. I can’t wait to see my children, and I can’t wait for this phase to begin. 

I love the fact that women are being so open with infertility these days. I love the fact that I don’t feel ashamed for not being able to have biological children. I want to be able to share and document this process because I don’t want anyone to feel helpless when it comes to being infertile. Also, I think it is important to know what going through the process of fostering and adoption is like. 

Whatever faith you belong to, or even if you don’t belong to any religion, could you please send out positive vibes and energy, prayers, or phrases of manifestation for us? It would be the greatest gift that you could give Stephen and me. I truly believe that one day very, very soon we will be parents, but a little extra boost would be extraordinary. 

Anyways, hearing the news that you can’t have biological children shouldn’t devastate you to the point of giving up. Depending on your perspective, it could actually be really beautiful. Your child, no matter who and where they came from, was destined to be yours. Your souls were meant to find and be with each other. Just remember that the soul of a human being is superior to blood.

Please Don’t Ask Me When I am Going To Have Kids

One of life’s biggest questions is “what are we doing here?” Some people think that they are here to help others, while others think that they are placed on this earth to follow through on a prestigious career path. Others might think that they are here just because their parents decided to fornicate one night and then BOOM. The evolution of cells that would eventually multiply and turn into you commenced. Correct me if I am wrong, but at some point in our mundane lives, we have questioned what we are meant to be doing. What is this big job that we were assigned to when we were given passage to life? You see, I indeed have asked that question myself, but I have known that answer for as long as I can remember. I was put on this earth to be a mom. 

I don’t know how to describe this feeling that I have had for all of these years. It has just been an overwhelming feeling of maternal love that flushes through my body and soul. I remember being incredibly young and playing with baby dolls just pretending to be their mom. I know a lot of young children do that, but I would get really into it. I would love those babies like they were really there. It might have been odd, but back then it gave me a taste of happiness. I was eleven when my youngest brother was born, and I cried the moment I saw him and held him in my arms. He was one of the greatest gifts that I have ever been given, and my love for him is strong. I used to love holding him, singing to him, taking care of him. And while at times he would drive me absolutely mad with his incessant and inconvenient crying, I still loved and continue to love him so incredibly much. I used to take him for walks around the block and imagine what it was going to feel like to be doing this with my own baby, and the thought would bring a smile to my face. 

When I was thirteen or fourteen I started losing a lot of my hair. I would be taking a shower and I would watch as clumps would wash down the drain. I thought it was odd, but at the same time I had really thick hair so I didn’t think too much of it. Then my periods started becoming incredibly painful. I remember crying in hysterics because I was paralyzed from the pain. It felt like someone took a metal rod and stuck it in a fire and then shoved it inside of me. The pain always traveled to my back, and the only thing that would give me temporary relief was the bathtub. My periods starting becoming irregular, and I just knew this was not a good sign. 

Every three to four months I have to go to an Endocrinologist for my type one diabetes, and at the beginning of each appointment they always ask me about my periods. So I informed the nurse about the irregularity of my periods and how incredibly debilitating they have been, and she informed the nurse practitioner of that information. When my NP came in to see me we dived into everything that was going on, including losing my hair. After talking for a bit she informed me that she thought that I had PCOS, and to go see a gynecologist to get an official diagnosis. So off I went to the gynecologist, and a couple of weeks later I got the call confirming the diagnosis. After the doctor told me that I had PCOS, my first question was “Will I be able to have children?” To which they said something along the lines of “The likelihood of you being able to conceive naturally with having PCOS, as well as type one diabetes, is unlikely. With medical assistance, you still might not be able to conceive, and if you did it would be considered high risk.”

That crushed me. I wasn’t even sixteen at that time, and finding out that I was most likely infertile stole every ounce of hope from me. The one thing that I have wanted, that one dream that I had held on to for years was ripped from me. I understood that they said that there was a chance that I could become pregnant naturally, but to a young girl, all I heard was that it was unlikely. I was immediately placed on birth control to help balance out my hormones, and I just continued living my life. It felt like such a slap in the face at the time having to go on birth control. Obviously, I wouldn’t want to be responsible for another life at such a young age, but the idea of my body not wanting to give me the one thing I had always wanted and then being placed on a pill that would also prevent it just felt cruel. But that one phone call, that one diagnosis, and every gynecologist appointment haunted me. 

I had, and continue to have, these reoccurring dreams of me being pregnant, or having children, or me being in labor. The older I became, the more these dreams would play out. In my dreams, I am happy. I am embracing my pregnant belly. I am holding, sniffing, and staring in awe at my baby. I excitedly scream “my water broke!” to my husband. It is such an incredible feeling, and then I wake up and realize it wasn’t real and I just break. Every single time. My heart is just broken. I hate my mind for putting me through that torture. 

Now that I am twenty-six and married, starting a family is at the forefront of our minds. I am prepared to start taking the medications to help me conceive, and if need be, I am willing to try IVF. But IVF doesn’t guarantee a child, so fostering and adoption might be my answer. At the end day, I really don’t care if the baby is related to me biologically. My dream and my desire to be a mother could still be a reality to a child who I didn’t grow inside of me, and I know that I will love any child with every ounce of my being. I want to help shape and mold another person into a wonderful human being, I want to help them explore and find their individuality, and I want to help figure out what their dream is so I can help them achieve it. I want to show them what it feels like to be loved and I want them to see how special they are and how much value they bring to this world. I know that one day I will be a mom regardless of how that child falls into my arms, and I have never been more ready for anything in my entire life.

There is one point that I want to make clear in this piece. The fact of the matter is, yes I am getting older and I am at the age where I could start having babies. But unfortunately, my reality is that it is going to be extremely difficult to conceive on my own. Like I stated before, I might not even conceive with medical assistance. For someone who wants children as badly as I do, imagine how it must feel when people ask me “when are you and Stephen going to start having babies?” In all fairness, it is not like I wear a badge that says “I have fertility issues,” but I also don’t think it is acceptable to ask me when we plan on expanding our family. If I had it my way, I would have two kids by now. Just because I am a woman and am happily married doesn’t give anyone the right to ask me something as personal as when I am having children. What if I didn’t want kids? What if I just had an abortion? What if Stephen was infertile? You never know what a person or a couple is going through, and having them feel the need to explain their situation is so damaging and hurtful. 

I want nothing more than to be a mom. I truly feel like that is why I am on this earth. The reality is I don’t know when or how that is going to happen, but I hold on to the hope that one day my dream will become true. But in the meantime, please don’t ask me when I am going to have kids.

The Real Monster: Anxiety

I have never really been afraid of monsters. I grew up watching Jurrasic Park on repeat, as a child I would play pretend games with imaginary monsters that I would bring to life, and I was always invested in ghost stories. The things that gave me a true fright were things that could become a reality. For example, thunderstorms that triggered a tornado warning would send me into a fit. I would hibernate in the basement clinging onto my dog Daisy in complete hysterics until I knew that the threat was gone and we were going to be safe. When my parents decided to divorce, I was consumed with making sure that my parents were okay. I remember always thinking about them and wondering if they were ever going to find happiness. I was in second grade at the time, but I was so consumed with what my family was feeling that it felt like it was eating away at my young soul. Little did I know that I was already being introduced to one of the scariest monsters to have ever existed: anxiety.

As I have stated many times, clinical depression is something that I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. My mom even told me that she knew something was off with me before I was five years old, but back then mental illness wasn’t really something that was talked about. I remember seeing a school counselor for a short time when my parents decided to divorce, and then many years later going to see my first psychologist. Although it was many years where I wasn’t speaking to a professional about what I was feeling, I always knew something was off about me. As cliche as this is, I literally felt as if I lived in a literal world of darkness. I was consumed by sadness, resentment, and anger. I was constantly isolating, (although that has still not changed) and I never actively sought out friendships. I was content with being on my own overthinking every thought that I have ever had and accepting that feeling the way that I felt was normal. I remember being overly concerned for years about my dad. My mom was happy and in love with my now stepfather, and I wanted that for my dad. I would spend hours a day worrying about my dad and what his and our future looked like, to the point where I would go into a panic. I wanted the world for my dad. I wanted every bit of happiness that the world had to offer to him to be his. I wanted him to find a partner and to fall in love, and I wanted him to enjoy every moment of his life. I would think about these things constantly, driving myself absolutely crazy. So when my dad met my stepmom, I was over the moon with excitement because I felt like everything that I have ever wanted for my dad was happening to him. But then the worry of him finding happiness turned into worry about him losing it, and then I was consumed with worry that his relationship with my stepmom wouldn’t last forever. That constant worry wasn’t warranted though because they were and continue to be a healthy and happy couple, but I just wanted my dads’ happiness to be infinite. Looking back, I can now see that my worry about my dads’ happiness was probably one of the first anxiety-inducing situations that I was apart of, and I wish that it was figured out years ago that anxiety was one of the things that I was feeling.

As I progressed in age I, of course, came into more anxiety-inducing scenarios. One of the more traumatic things that I experienced that I still have trouble with was my sexual assault. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that I have learned more about that incident the older I have become. Looking back at what happened and after speaking to a couple of professionals about it, I have learned that I was essentially brainwashed, manipulated, and “trained” by this person since I was eleven to be a certain way with him. When the big incident occurred, I immediately broke down. I remember talking to my therapist at the time about it and her wanting to report it for statutory rape, but I wouldn’t let her for reasons that I don’t want to get into. After that happened I blamed myself for years for allowing it to happen. The big incident happened when I was fifteen, and it was just within the past year that I have been able to accept that it wasn’t my fault. I now look at the situation with complete disgust, and I can see it for everything that it was. I will say this though. After seeking out help for coping with what happened it almost makes me feel worse. I feel so violated. I feel like something was stolen from me. Every time I think about the whole situation I want to break down. This incident has a way to pop into my mind at the most inconvenient times, and what sucks about it is that when I think about it I literally feel like I am taken back in time and forced to relive everything that I went through. I can feel what I felt, both mentally and physically, and I feel frozen. My anxiety just completely takes over me, and I feel like I can’t breathe. My heart starts racing, and I need to remind myself that it isn’t happening now, it happened in the past. I would say my sexual assault is one of the biggest reasons why my anxiety is so horrendous.

Although I have always been pretty content with not involving a lot of people in my life, I do feel like my social anxiety just keeps getting worse and worse. I don’t do well with meeting new people, in fact, I have had to have therapy sessions in preparation for meeting new people and for being in groups. I don’t really know what it is, I just get really bad anxiety around new people and big groups of people. I get anxiety while driving, while going to the doctors’ office, and even shopping. Every time I feel like something might be wrong with my animals my anxiety spikes. I feel like my life is controlled by my anxiety, and it makes me feel so fragile. My anxiety is one of the main focuses of my therapy sessions, and I feel with every session that I have I become one step closer to breaking free of my anxieties grasp. 

My anxiety and my depression have this hold on me. Every day I work hard to better myself, but I have my ups and downs. I don’t think I will ever be free from my anxiety, but I do think that with time and hard work I can handle it better. After everything is said and done, your life shouldn’t be controlled by monsters, but by you.

Divorce

My parents separated when I was in second grade, and their divorce was one of the best things that could have happened. I don’t remember much from when they were married, but the memories that I do have are not that great. I just remember constant fighting, and a feeling of unhappiness that filled the home.

I still remember the day that my parents officially separated vividly. I don’t really think about it that much anymore, because it was a day that I try not to recall. It was the day that my family was no longer a family, and it was the day that I watched my dad leave. Although he was not too far away from me, he no longer lived with us, and it tore me apart. It was a really intense day, and it will be one that I know I will always remember.

The divorce made a huge impact on my childhood. As in most divorces, my parents kept a lot of things from my brother and I in order to protect us. I don’t really remember my parents ever talking bad about each other, but there were a couple of slip ups made by both of them. A lot of the information that I have about their divorce and the causes behind it actually came from family members on both sides, which looking back at now, was wildly inappropriate. Something that still really bothers me is that a family member told me something that completely changed my view of my parents when I was in second grade, and if they would have done the adult thing and kept that information to themselves it would have saved me from a lot of emotional torment. I have come to notice that people are selfish in divorces, and sometimes they don’t care what the aftermath looks like as long as they can hurt the other person. I am sure that the family member who told me that information thought they were helping my parent that they are related to, but they ended up doing more damage to my brother and I than anyone else.

The divorce made me feel like I was living in a world of pure toxicity. I felt loyalty to my dad and I felt guilty that I still loved my mom. My dad never made me feel like I couldn’t have a relationship with my mom, so feeling guilty about wanting that was my own issue. However, as I got older, and as other people felt it necessary to tell me more things about my parents and what their relationship was like, I started to separate myself from my mom. When you’re a teenager, your hormones and emotions are all over the place, and the stuff that was said to me caused so many issues for me. I started to hate my mom, and that hatred was like drinking poison. I felt so disgusting inside, like my soul was rotting away from years and years of toxic waste that has just been piling up. I was an emotional wreck, and every thought I had was about my mom and my dad and the past. Those years where I couldn’t forget about the divorce were eating me alive, and no matter how much therapy I had I just couldn’t let go. It was as if the divorced handcuffed me to a life a resentment and hostility, and no matter who tried to help me they couldn’t break the cuffs. It was awful, but the worst part of it all was that I was the one that allowed that hatred to consume me.

I think it was in junior year of high school where I kind of had an epiphany. I just remember thinking about my parents divorce and how it had affected me, and I realized that by me holding on to this anger that I was torturing myself. I also thought about what my life would have been liked if my parents stayed together. It would have not been a good life, it would have not been a stable life, and it wouldn’t have been a life that would have resulted in my brother and I having success. My mom remarried and had another son, and I absolutely adore and love my step dad, Jeff, and my brother, Logan. My dad never remarried, but he has been with his partner, Tina, ever since I was in seventh grade. Tina has always been incredible to my brother Nicholas and I, and I will always be appreciative for that. If my parents had stayed together, all of these people that I love so much wouldn’t be apart of my world, and a world that they aren’t apart of is a world that I don’t even want to think about. After thinking about all of this, my world and attitude completely changed. It was like I inhaled in my last breath of toxic air, and when I exhaled, every negative thought about the divorce left my soul. I forgave the events that I hung on to, I became appreciative for the life that I was living, and most importantly, I invited my mom back into my life.

I know that my parents did everything that they could to prevent my brother and I from feeling the pain from the divorce, and as much that they tried, that pain was invited in by other people who couldn’t obtain self control. A lot of pain could have been avoided if people were respectful and kept what they wanted to say to themselves, but hopefully this was as much of a learning experience for them as it was for me.

My advice to parents who are going through a divorce is this:

  1. Don’t talk bad about the other parent in front of your kids.
  2. Don’t allow others talk bad about the other parents in front of your kids.
  3. Your kids can and will pick up on what you are feeling, so try to keep as much negativity away from them as you can.
  4. No matter what your kid tells you about how they feel about the divorce, put them in therapy. It will only be beneficial in later years.
  5. When you decide to separate, have a respectful sit down conversation with your kids to explain what is about to happen.

This list is just a couple of things that could help your kids during the process of divorce. As a child that went through this, I know that this could have helped me cope with my parents divorce a lot faster.

Now that I am twenty four, I have an amazing relationship with both my mom and my dad, as well as my step-parents. I am able to see my mom for who she is, and I am able to appreciate everything that she has ever done for me. It does make me feel upset that a relationship with her was robbed from me in the past, but that is why I cherish every conversation and hangout session now. My dad is still the dad that I have always known and loved, and I still treasure him as much as I did back then. At the end of the day, I am grateful for my parents divorce. I hate the way it happened and I hate the person that it temporarily turned me into, but all of our lives are better now because of it.