Category Archives: Finalization Life

Ten Things on Wednesday: 7/21/2021

  1. Man, this year is really flying by. I recently accepted some of my first speaking engagements for 2022, and that just feels super weird to me.
  2. I finally called my doctor and got the much needed medication adjustment. Now we wait and see how I feel in the coming weeks. I still haven’t called the electrician to come figure out all the work that needs to be done.
  3. I’ve been thinking about nature versus nurture recently; I think that I started kicking it around after Hope and I said the same thing at the same time. It wasn’t everyday things; this was different. This was a very particular idea and string of words. We giggled when it happened. Admission: I realized very early in this journey to have low expectations of me “rubbing off” on Hope. 1) I didn’t want to be crushed when it didn’t happen, and 2) it’s so unfair to ‘want her to be like me.’ So now, year’s later to know that we genuinely share things like finishing sentences and inside jokes. It really makes me happy.
  4. And then silly things happen that just make me go: Dear Lord, what are we doing????. Hope and I didn’t have a “why is the sky blue’ chapter. Instead we have a ‘why do my nipples itch?’ I mean we have that now, right now, today, tonight, seriously she just walked into my room and asked me that, while scratching.
  5. Parenting is wild.
  6. So, it’s looking like Mexico at the end of September. I haven’t decided if I’m going solo yet. I know Hope would love to go and would have a blast, adding another stamp on her passport. But then it becomes a trip. Stay tuned. The vision of sitting on the beach with a cool drink snoozing like my trip to PR a couple of years ago.
  7. Hmm, remembering the solo trip to PR makes me seriously consider going alone. That trip I walked every morning, snoozed on the beach everyday, grabbed a calzone every night from the place across from the hotel and slept. It was one of the most decadent things I’ve ever done for myself. Except maybe go to Mexico for a week alone at an all inclusive.
  8. I will be emailing the travel agent as soon as I finish this post.
  9. Hope is finding a groove with work. She’s happy, and I really can’t articulate what a relief this is for me. She’s making friends, she’s eager to pick up extra shifts. She has created her own budget–which includes paying me for her cell phone and paying a token towards the housekeeper. I didn’t tell her I was just going to put it in her investment account every month. But she just happened to mention her allocation for her “recreational things” and my eyebrows went up! Could the financial education class I made her go to early one Saturday morning and my modeling good management have had an impact? Seriously, after the year she’s had and how bad things got, I am elated to see her thriving again. It makes my heart burst. I am so proud of Hope.
  10. Friday, the last person that we had helping us with caregiving so I could travel is getting married. Hope and I will be there. I know I’m going to cry. P was a godsend, truly. Back then when I asked for referrals from the service I used I saw her info and realized we worked in the same building. Knowing where she worked was cool; many years ago, I started my care at that organization. She was going to grad school where I went to grad school. We had to have crossed paths a lot, and we had. She was one of the best decisions I made in my life. She is marrying the man she met right after she started watching Hope; we’ve watched their journey. That man is a gem; he passed Hope’s tests. When I realized that if I was traveling on a band night, and P was at the football game; this dude came to the game too since P was there I knew he was super smitten early on. Seriously, he spent a couple Friday nights at a high school football game to hang out with the woman who was standing in for me while Hope did the marching band thing? He was in deep! I’m so thrilled to be able to watch them get hitched.

Ten Things on Wednesday: 7/14/2021

  1. Yeah, so work reentry is rough. Busy, busy, busy. I have so much to do. It would’ve still been insanely busy even if I had not taken a week off, so no regrets. I do wonder if/when America will get over this ridiculous “week long” vacation situation and consider a 2 week minimum. The work ethic here is killing us.
  2. Hope is saving up for a car, y’all. As we begin talking about his process, I’m acutely aware of how much I take for granted in terms of environmental learning from my family. My dad was a mechanic, and took enormous pride in fixing EVERYTHING, including his cars. I honestly am struggling to remember how I learned certain things about purchasing and maintaining a car; I just learned it along the way.
  3. Even though I’ve been intentionally talking about these things with Hope for years, I’m realizing the extent to which my daughter has been unable to take in and retain information. Trauma is a beeotch. I’m convinced that these 7 years has just been a brain “rest” period; the result is that Hope has been oblivious to a lot of the environmental learning that just happens in families. It’s not intentional; she probably was listening but just could not process the information.
  4. Case in point: I do not ever remember learning what mileage on a car was; I just somehow learned and knew that that was how many miles the car had driven. Last night Hope asked me if mileage represented how many miles the car had left to drive. I was like, “an expiration date?” Whew, I have laughed about it for 24 hours because: HILARIOUS. But then I think about what the question represents, and I wonder how many other things Hope just missed learning because of her rocky start in life. Makes me sad.
  5. These last two weeks or so, I’m seeing so much growth in Hope. She’s regaining some much needed confidence. She enjoys working. She’s helping out around the house more, even picking up groceries. She’s quick to remind me that she needs me, but I’m starting to see glimpses of her future. I’m excited to see how she progresses.
  6. The truth is that Hope is probably more stable than I am right now. I’m still feeling overwhelmed by most things. Running simple errands can be challenging; lack of motivation. I’m in my head a lot, which is not unusual, but it’s not a good thing these days. I really need a meds adjustment, but the simple act of dialing my doc’s number–which is on speed dial–just seems like…work.
  7. Even on the weekends, I’m likely to just stay home all day. This isn’t like me. I’m an extrovert; I like being around people. I get off on the energy. But even thinking about going out much is enough to shut me down for a couple of days. Some of this is pandemic fall out, but the rest of it…is just me.
  8. I am logging my food and stepping up my exercise. I might not have hot girl summer, but it will be toasty girl fall!
  9. Yappy is currently sleeping in the middle of the bed. I’ve been relegated to the edge because the look he gave me when I attempted to move him about 30 mins ago was wanton rebellion. He ain’t moving. I’m not sure how a 10lb dog because the master of me, but here we are.
  10. I have a serious case of wanderlust. I am eyeballing trips to Iceland and Costa Rica. My fantasy would be to go alone, like I did with Puerto Rico a couple of years ago. I just need some decompression time. Where should I go? Open to suggestions! I’m concerned about the delta variant, but I am vaxxed. I am unwilling to travel for work, but I need to get on a plan sometime soon.

Back to Work

Sigh, vacation is over, and I am sad. I want, no need more time.

I have looked at my email for the last couple of days, just trying to gauge how bad the dig out will be.

Oh, it’s bad; real bad.

There are about half a dozen speaking invitations, a ton of data requests, surveys to be reviewed, and just stuff that needs to be dealt with. I don’t want to deal with any of it.

I say no to most speaking engagements these days. 1) Folks want the same dog and pony show over and over again; it’s boring. 2) I rarely get the sense that these groups are interested in truly substantive change, and I’m not wasting my time. 3) It feels…clout chasey. Like, if I come then they can check a box. I am not special, but I do know the role I play in my space and in my small pond, I guess I’m a “get.” I don’t like that feeling. I geek out over big speakers at our conference or at conferences I’m attending; I wonder how those folks feel about folks being so excited to hear you–I imagine for some it must be uncomfortable. I don’t like it.

So, I”ll reread everything over the next couple of days and figure what gets accepted and what doesn’t.

Hope went back to work the day after we got back from our trip. She wasn’t happy about it but now that she has a job, she’s eager to get her hours in.

I’m also taking the opportunity to revamp my eating and workout habits. Logging my food is something I hate, but is something that immediately changes my behavior. I’m also working on being more intentional about my workouts. I’ve got about 18 months before I turn 50(!) and I want to feel stronger than I am and I want to love myself more than I currently do. Being modestly more disciplined is the path to that.

I’m on Fitbit, and I stay in challenges; I’m going to work on being more intentional for a while.

I”m also much more inclined to consider taking an international trip before the end of the year. I think I want a good beach trip in the Caribbean, but I also want to have some adventure. We’ll see. I’m worried about the new COVID variants. I and everyone I know is vaccinated, but I’m still a bit worried. Time will tell.

So, tomorrow is another day. It’s another chance to get this life thing right.


Ten Things on Wednesday: 7/7/2021

  1. Today was a good day.
  2. Hope and I enjoyed a great day on the beach. A long time friend of mine who lives abroad is in town visiting her family; I happened to see a picture a few days ago and we were able to connect on the beach for a few hours.
  3. Then my sister came thru with the kiddos and I played with the little cuties until it was time to come inside.
  4. Hope jumped waves with her cousin and stepped out for dinner with her older cousin.
  5. We went to the candy store and to get slushies.
  6. It was as close to a perfect day as we could get.
  7. It’s barley 8pm and Hope got in the bed about an hour ago, and was asleep by 7:30.
  8. You know what that means? It means I’m practically alone!!!! I’m fixing myself a cocktail and heading to the balcony in my pjs to watch the dolphins at dusk. There was a huge pod out this morning and it was wonderful watching them!
  9. Tomorrow the hurricane remnants are supposed to hit the area. We might get some beach time in the morning, but it will likely be a low key day shopping and hanging out with family.
  10. I’m hoping the next couple of days are as amazing as today. Hope and I deserve it.


Ten Things on Thursday: 7/1/2021

  1. Just one more day before I’m on vacation for a little over a week. This break is much, much needed.
  2. I’m feeling a bit better now that I had that PTSD talk with Hope. I’m still really anxious, but this week it’s more manageable. I talked to my therapist about next steps; I’ll work on that when I get back from vacation.
  3. Meanwhile, Hope is getting it together with work. Earlier this week, she wanted to call in again because of cramps. Ok, so yes, sometimes we have cramps and yes, they are miserable. Sometimes, if they are severe you might need to call in for work, but sometimes you can’t. I made her go to work; otherwise, 3 weeks, 3 call outs. She was pissed, but life goes on.
  4. Things I’m looking forward to during the next week:
  5. Time with Beau.
  6. Pool date with the bestie.
  7. Sleeping.
  8. Napping on the beach.
  9. Pretend fishing with my 4 year old nephew.
  10. I’m hoping that some of the Hotel services that have been put on hold during the pandemic have returned; I really want to have a lux time at the beach. I deserve it. Later y’all.

PTSD

It seems June is not only Pride but PTSD Awareness Month. I did not know that before today. It’s kind of hard to keep up with the multitude of awareness months and days.

In many ways, PTSD has ruled aspects of my life since Hope became my daughter. She was diagnosed years ago, and the events of the last year resulted in a fresh new round of targeted treatment.

Although I’ve certainly struggled with my own traumas throughout my life, I had never been diagnosed with PTSD or C-PTSD…until very recently. I remember the anxiety I felt the first time I drove through the tunnel where I had my accident and how long it took me to not avoid it or to feel panicky about it. It definitely took a while, but I was treated for anxiety and just kept working at it. That’s representative of how I navigated things.

That is until recently.

When Hope started working again last month, I was excited for her to get up and out of the house and to hopefully find purpose in being functional. I knew she was a great worker; her managers loved her last summer and even when she volunteers she always gets this amazing feedback. The girl works hard, is great with people (despite being somewhat of an introvert) and is a great employee. I knew that getting a job would help her turn the corner after the challenges of the year.

Now intellectually, I knew all of that. But my emotional self was triggered AF.

By the end of her first week, I was enduring mini panic attacks when she left for work. I tried really hard not to fret and worry about her when she wasn’t home within 20 minutes of her shift ending—but I worked myself into an emotional frenzy anyway. When she called out twice in two weeks for what didn’t seem to me like legit excuses, I lost my ish. I tried to offer care and concern, but I also came down hard on issues of work ethic and commitment. I hounded her about her schedule. I became deeply concerned about whether she was eating enough and the right things to keep her well and energy powered.

I tried to keep a lot of my panic to myself, but I failed. By last week, I was kind of a wreck on the inside. I was tired of being constantly on edge, consumed with worry and hounding Hope such that I could tell long term it would damage our relationship. I was miserable.

I convinced myself that it was because I didn’t trust Hope to make good decisions. Based on some of the decisions she made last summer, which precipitated the emotional mudslide of the year, the concern wasn’t completely unwarranted. But it just wasn’t healthy how much I was fretting about it. Five days a week, I was losing my ish on the inside.

By the time my weekly therapy appointment came around, my therapist, who was already trying to help me with my panic attacks noted things were worsening. That’s when she said, “ABM, I think we need to change course in working through this. This isn’t just panic attacks, you are being triggered by Hope going to work and your inability to prevent what happened last time from happening again. This isn’t really about trusting Hope, this is about being terrified that something bad will happen to her again and your inability to stop it. This is PTSD.”

I looked at the Zoom screen, bit my lip and began to cry. What? How? I mean, I’m worried about Hope, but is it really all that? Seriously. Won’t this just get better with time? Are you serious? She walked through my symptoms from the last few weeks, talked me through the diagnosis and made some recommendations on moving forward. It was so clear she was right.

I’m still processing what this means, but I know that naming it has helped. I also talked to Hope about being really afraid. My daughter continues to amaze me. She was gracious and understanding; and I’m a little less afraid now.

But, really I’m still terrified and that’s going to take some time to work through. Of all the things I thought would trip me up, Hope going to work ain’t it, but here we are. I’m going to get through this though; I will. Might take more than a minute, but I will. I’ve asked Hope to be patient with me and that I will do my best to try to avoid being an overbearing, overprotective troll.

She smiled and said we’ll get through it. She’s right; we will.


Ten Things on Wednesday: 6/23/2021

  1. There are thirteen days before my stint at the beach and I haven’t been this excited in a long time. I will be so glad when I’m able to travel unfettered again. This staying home things has been tough.
  2. I’m honestly most looking forward to imaginary fishing with my nephew again. He’s upped his fishing game lately. He’s added a laundry basket as a boat to the scheme. I seriously cannot wait to play with him.
  3. Did I mention I was trying to teach Yappy to use AAC buttons to communicate? We’ve been at it for months and it looks like we’re finally making some headway. He definitely gets it, but I’m really focusing on modeling the words for him. We’re focusing on “Pet Me” right now because he loves touch so much.
  4. I can’t believe that Hope will be 20 on Friday. It’s kinda crazy to believe. I ordered a gift yesterday, and I’ve taken the day off to hangout. She’s funny, I asked her what she wanted to do and she said it wasn’t a big deal, just another day. When I deadpanned that I’ll go ahead and work then, she begged me not to. Ha!
  5. Now that she’s working, I don’t spend much time with her. She works afternoons and evenings and sleeps when I’m up and getting into work. I realized that I hadn’t really hugged her in days last night. It made me sad.
  6. I bet you were thinking, Awww, ABM misses spending time with Hope.
  7. You’d kinda be wrong. Sure, I miss hugging my daughter, very much actually, but having true alone time in the house is amazing. I sometimes take during the week baths when shes at work. I do the whole thing: candles, bubbles and bath fizzies, a cool beverage and an excessive amount of time on Insta and Tiktok.
  8. I can’t believe I got on tiktok, really. I don’t ever see myself posting anything, but the short video format is great for my attention span these days. I seem to have a well curated For You page and there is something that always makes me laugh from my belly.
  9. I went to the gym for the first time for the first time in almost a year and a half. I’m really proud that I avoided the COVID30 this year. I have fluctuated about 7 lbs up or down, I call that a win. The gym was ok; it still felt weird; I’m trying to get some of my old pre-pandemic routines. I’ll try to go a couple days a week going forward.
  10. It’s been almost 4 years since my head injury. It’s been on my mind a lot this week because ever since the accident I experience a severe bout of photosensitivity around the summer equinox. Something about the angle of the sun bouncing light to my eyes–it feels like my brain is overwhelmed and my eyes hurt. The only relief is dark glasses and closing my eyes–preferably both. The experience lasts 3-4 week, and it’s awful. It’s worse in the evening–which is what drove me back to the gym. I can get a good workout at home, but I needed a change of scenery. I prefer to walk outside, but in the evenings it hurts my eyes and makes my brain feel wonky. Anyway, I’ll be the one with the granny glasses on for the next couple of weeks.

My Issues

When I became a mom, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy job. Parenting is hard. I did think that it would become easier at some point.

Let’s just say, some point has not yet arrived.

Parenting Hope at 20 is as challenging as parenting Hope at 12; the challenge is just different. She had a taste of freedom when she was away at school, and while I don’t have a lot of rules, the ones I do have I’m pretty serious about. We bump heads occasionally over it, but I’m the mom and the mortgage payer–I make the rules.

My fears for my daughter are different in some ways. Good decision-making has been a struggle for Hope this last year, and unfortunately she has felt the heavy gravity of some of her poor decisions. It’s been hard to watch, and it’s also hard to trust her in some areas as a result. I’ve learned that she doesn’t really get that trust is hard earned and easily lost. My trust issues when it comes to Hope feel so trauma based. I sometimes even feel panicky when I think about what has lead to my distrust. It doesn’t feel good.

And low key, I sometimes feel like, does my kid have any idea how her decisions, actions, choices affect anyone else besides her? There’s almost always a financial cost. There is the emotional cost and when she pays the consequences, sometimes I’m caught up in that foolishness as well. So, yes, there is a deeply selfish component that drives me nuts too.

And then there’s just decisions that leave me perplexed and wondering what’s going to happen next. For example, Hope has been working for about 3 weeks. She’s called out twice. The first time she said she didn’t feel well–she didn’t seem sick. Today, she didn’t have a reason. As a manager, I would be concerned that she wasn’t the best hire and that maybe she isn’t terribly responsible. A third call-out would very likely result in a termination–there are just too many people in need of a job for any company to deal with a lackadaisical work ethic. I just don’t get it.

When I discovered she wasn’t going to work today, I silently fumed. I’ve been telling myself to chill out because after a year of doing so little that it would take a while for her to find her footing. When she worked last year, she was a dedicated, reliable and a strong team player. Now, not so much. And, right or wrong, it’s driving me absolutely nuts.

I take a lot of pride in my work ethic. I routinely pull 50+ hour weeks; I cram as much as I can into my work day. I’m super productive. I have learned this year that my anxiety drives a lot of this behavior, which isn’t good, but somehow I make it work. Motherhood changed my work and career priorities a lot; it was wonderful to pull back and find self-worth in mothering. These last couple of years, I’ve been able to dive back into work, and I hopefully set an example for discipline and productivity.

Yeah…that doesn’t seem to be the case though, and honestly I seethe because of it. I want Hope to be successful at whatever it is she is going to do. For me success is 80% hard work and 20% luck. I’m not sure what equation Hope uses in terms of success or even if she’s thought that far. I just know that her approach, such that it is because I do not think it is planned or thought out, is just to float.

This is driving me nuts and I’m fully aware that ultimately it’s my issue. Hope is going to do what she’s going to do–or not.

As calmly as I could, I told Hope about the possibility of self-sabotage, and I got a blank stare. I told her the truth that I was disappointed to see her calling out twice in as many weeks for no clear reason. I also told her that how I feel about how she handles her employment is my issue and I’ll have to work on it, but it really is triggering me (that’s an understatement–I’m really emotional about it). I also told her I loved her. I also retired to my room because my own emotions–however illegitimate they might be–are real and I was really struggling with how to engage in healthy ways.

The idea that I need to withdraw because I know I can’t manage my emotions seemed to get to her. It doesn’t change her behavior though, so I’m still in my room with Yappy, noshing on cookies and writing about my parenting emotional hangups.

I know that Hope will get it together one day, not today but one day. I know that; I believe that. For now, I just need to get a handle on my expectations, my emotions and my own dreams for Hope. She’s got to find her own way, in her own time. I desperately want so much for her and I’ve done as much as I can to smooth a path for her, and that’s it. It is up to her.

So these feelings and all that underpin them are my issues. I’ve got a lot of stuff to talk to my therapist about because I can’t stand feeling this stuff. It’s not healthy, and it’s probably not fair.

Parenting is hard.


Ten Things on Wednesday: 6/16/2021

  1. Can you believe that it’s already the middle of June? This year is really just flying by. Sometimes it’s just dizzying to think that we’ve been home due to the pandemic for about 15 months and counting.
  2. Hope is in her third week of work. Earlier this week she called in sick; she didn’t seem sick to me. That said, we all need mental health days, right? I also have been chastising myself to remember that Hope has been a slug for going on a year–some days she didn’t get out of bed. So yeah, working a 5 to 7 hour shift is probably beyond exhausting. She’s going to have to build up her endurance.
  3. I’ve also been really thinking about Hope’s behavior this last year. The pandemic has really been tough on her. Her first year of college was disrupted; she lost her developing friend group. There was a love affair that went super sour. There was a lot of isolation, and honestly, a lot of suffering. It is no wonder that she nearly clings to me like a baby sometimes.
  4. This last year and a half has been traumatic for all of us, but for some, like Hope, it’s been especially so.
  5. I do wonder how she will bounce back from this. It’s like she finally was making soooo much personal progress; sure her grades were what I hoped they would be, but she was beginning to thrive in so many other ways. As usual, I have lots of things to fret about in terms of her recovery.
  6. How much has this time stunted her emergence into young adulthood? Has it made her afraid to step out again?
  7. Will it further extend what I already thought would be a slightly delayed launch? Home has been even more a a “safe” headquarters for us; hell even I have anxiety going too far from home for too long. With home having an even stronger association with safety, how can I help her get back to stretching her safety bubble?
  8. The fact that she’s working actually gives me hope for her. I’m hopeful that she will be able to regain her lost confidence and figure out what she wants to do next. It’s really about my commitment and ability to support her and be patient with her.
  9. In other news, there are 19 days before I head to the beach. I’m looking forward to sleeping in a big bed, working on getting nice and bronzy and spending lots of time with Sister K’s family.
  10. I’m also looking forward to making a final decision about a bathroom renovation. I think I’ve saved “enough,” though I’m constantly running the numbers. I know that it will be fine, but it’s a huge thing to commit to. It’s just that every time I set up my bath ritual, I start thinking…this is good but it could be so much better IF….Stay tuned.

Family Knowledge

A few nights ago, I stumbled across old episodes of John Edwards, the medium, on TV. I used to love his show. In fact, in 2012, I actually attended one of his in-person events here in Virginia. I”m absolutely a believer that some of us can talk to folks on the other side. I talk to one of my late grandmothers all the time, and yes, sometimes she responds. It’s kind of like in my head but almost like a whisper outside of my head–it’s hard to explain, but I sometimes hear her. I sometimes hear my paternal grandmother as well, not as often. And I sense my grandfathers’ energies as well.

It’s been this way since each of them passed on. It’s not limited to them–certainly I had other episodes with family that have passed on as well. I can’t do it for others, but it’s been a wonderful comfort for me over the years.

Anyway, back to the show. I was posted up in bed one night, bingeing the show when Hope popped in. Sometimes she loves to hear stories of my childhood and family. I told her about this weird thing that happened when my great Aunt died–her spirit jacked up my GPS just to make me drive past one of her favorite places after the funeral. I was just telling her story after story; I could feel myself getting animated. I love my family, and we’ve had some good times. And then…

“Gosh you know so much of your family. All those people…” Hope said.

My mouth hung open. I snapped it shut, and I stilled. I felt horrible. Here I am chattering along about my ancestors, people I have been so privileged to grow up with, to know, some to still feel. And for Hope, there are just gaps, big huge gaps. While we do have a relationship with some members of her family of origin, it’s often strained. It’s complicated for Hope; there are still a lot of big feelings, and I’m not sure what resolution will look like for her.

I apologized for making her uncomfortable. She waved me off dismissively. But this is sitting with me. I want to share with her that this is what family is, can be, maybe should be. I am so fortunate to have the family I have, to know so many members of my family, to claim and be claimed, to know my generational connections. I want that for Hope.

I have make it clear that I will support her relationships with family always, unless they seem unhealthy, but even then I’ll support her and be there for her. I have no idea what the future holds in that space for her. I also know that as much as we love one another and my family of origin, we may not fill any of the gaps left over. We’ll try. We will always try, but I worry that there will always be limitations.

When I resumed my chattering, I pivoted to talk about how Hope will talk about me to my grandchildren and to her grandchildren, and what they will tell their grandchildren about us. I told her to imagine visiting my mom with her own kids and how wild that will be. I told her that we would create our own dynasty.

I know it may not fill the gaps from her biological inheritance of memories, stories, beliefs, and more, but I promise to pass on everything I can and everything I have. I want so much for her to feel, believe, and know that she is anchored with me and all that I have inherited.

Blessings.


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