Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Three hour lunches = catching up with an old friend

Today I had a wonderful , long, yet much too quick lunch with an old friend.  This is a friend I used to speak to on a once (or more!) daily basis.  We have been through many things in our lives together.  We have shared elementary school, middle school, high school, my teen pregnancy, our marriages, the births of my other three boys and her two children.   Its been much too long, yet the time we spent was as easy as if I saw her yesterday.

My son Nicholas asked me how I could be such good friends with someone and not talk to them in such a long time.  It is a poignant question.  I'm not sure what happened.  We both went back to school and with families and work commitments it became harder to keep in touch.  I thought of her often and would always put calling her on the "to do list" , yet most days I just didn't make it a priority.  Nick's question to me really confirmed that no matter what answer I gave him it was the incorrect one, as there is no excuse for not finding time for true friends.

So today was a happy day! She looks exactly the same to me as years before. I enjoyed every minute of our time together. I look forward to seeing her more often and can't wait for the next long lunch!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Reliving the joy

I've been doing a lot of reading lately.  Not just leisure reading, but reading as more of self improvement.  I've been devouring the book by Joel Osteen "Becoming a Better You".  Of course this book is religious based, but honestly the message in the book is inspiring.  You should check it out and see what I mean.

I've also been doing some other reading.  I've been following an old friend's search for his birthmother through emails, facebook, and his blog. His search started a while ago, fizzled out , and began again in earnest a few days ago.  I can not begin to express to you the emotions that I felt throughout his journey!  It is like reliving finding my own birthmother and father. He is the one person who is me .  In that I mean, I have not had another adoptee to share all I've been through before.  We are both fortunate in that our spouses are supportive and encouraging.  But to be able to share the same fears, anxieties and then joys with another in the same situation is such an emotional feeling!

I had been hoping and praying since last year that his first futile search would not make him give up hope.  As an adoptee, it is your right to decide when the time is right for you.  I think he just needed to find the right time in his head and his heart.  When you get the correct mindset all good things will happen.  He found her quickly and now they communicate all the time.  I am so happy for him my heart is about to burst.  I know the journey he is on and I'm excited for the both of them.  What he doesn't yet know is that there are many more roads ahead of him with so many more pots of gold waiting.   Once he speaks to extended family and finally his siblings his life will surely be as interesting as mine!

In my old friend's elation it transports me back to 1997 and searching for my mother.  There was no internet for me (at least I don't think I had internet??) I paid a popular search company to find her address for me.  I wrote her a heart wrenching letter, splilling my heart out to her.  I prayed she would call me.  I waited.  I waited. I waited even more.  No response.  No phone call.  I was absolutely devestated. 

I remember one Saturday when my husband was working I went to bed. I literally went into my bed and laid there with Nicholas (he was just a few months old), Tony 3, and Tommy 7 laying with me watching TV.  I laid there for a long time until my husband called and made me feel better about the situation.  He said perhaps she hadn't even received the letter and not to be so pessimistic.  Soon after believing  that Tony could be right there was a crack in the case.  A month later I met my mother who was living in New Jersey at the time.  My letter was originally sent to an address in Maine that was really outdated.  She never received it. 

I thought of this story when my friend said he did not get a response to his message sent to her via facebook messages.  I urged him to send an email to her true email address.  Thank God he did, as she hadn't seen the first one.  I felt all along his reunion would go well, maybe because my two had.  I just wanted for him what I had for myself and now he has it!

I can't wait until after they meet.  We've talked of going out with our spouses and sharing more stories of new families.  I can't wait to get to know his wife, and for him to get to know Tony.  If it weren't for the two of them being so supportive who knows if we would have ever gone through with our searches.

I love writing my blog.  I truly enjoy the documentating of all that comes out of my learning about my family. With his new blog , now I am an adopton blog reader too! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

The wait to see my mother is on, please let the Maine weather cooperate!

I'm always looking for my next adventure -something I can look forward to.  Especially in  this time of year when the weather is cold, the days are short, and i'm feeling a bit of cabin fever.  My next trek will be to the southern part of Maine where I will meet some family for my birthday.  Please Maine winter storms, cooperate with me at the end of March!

It struck me the other day that neither my mother or I have spent a birthday together since we have known one another.  We both have winter birthdays and it can be difficult to travel.  I take that back, the last birthday we had was the day I was born.  I want more than anything to give her a memory of my birthday that does not relate to sadness. I'm hoping March will change that all together.

I've spoke about my mother often in my writings.  As many of the people that read this are mothers and fathers I feel particularly that you all understand the great love and admiration that I have for her. A large portion of this is due to the fact that I was fortunate enough to have had adoptive parents who had been given small details about my mother and who were kind of enough to pass them on to me.

Age 10, all smiles and freckles
I remember being about 10 years old and asking my parents more specific questions about my birth parents.  Although they had no information regarding my father, my mother spoke of my mother (Pat) with tears in her eyes.  She told me all that she knew, that she was not in a position to keep me and that she had desperately tried to find a way to do just that.   I was told of her young age and that her mother, my maternal grandmother, had passed away and so no motherly figure was there to help her with me.   They gave me the real perspective of my mothers situation. My parents made me understand at an early age that this mother I hadn't met was the first great love in my life.  What I realized as I got  older  is that my parents gave a gift to me that was priceless.

Many adoptees grow up with questions and uncertainties.  Of course I was inquisitive about my situation but I was lucky enough to have these basic details about my mother.  I grew up having a mother and father in my everyday life and also this sort of dream mother too.  I thought of her all the time and she was kind of like a living angel to me.  Many days I would think of her and wonder what her life was like.  My parents gave me such a wonderful sense of her that I loved her for as long I can remember.

My only regrets about my particular adoption are that I wish in 1973 there would have been some provision for my mother to learn about me.  Open adoptions can be tricky and controversial but I believe a mother should at least be given some information regarding their child.  Perhaps through a third party or agency.  All those years I knew I was fine, but even as I child I loved her enough to worry about her.  It's funny how a child can think.  

You will here me use the words hero, brave, amazing, and selfless when I speak about my mother.  She was all of those things and more.  These are not fluffy words and phrases I speak to dramatize the situation.  These words do not even due justice to how I feel about her.  Her love and sacrifices and my parent's love and devotion provided a wonderful childhood for me.  For all of my parents I am grateful.

So, I am hoping the weather will cooperate with us this year.  I pray to see her on my birthday, take some happy photo's and add to my memories.  My sisters may be coming too.  What joy I would have to see any of them!  

This may be my last birthday to celebrate too, since I plan on staying 39 for the rest of my life!

mom and I about the same age

 My beautiful mother today
so pretty - high school picture

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving to Christmas.. My Favorite time of year!


Thanksgiving! It is a holiday I have always adored!Who doesn't enjoy the food, family and time to give thanks to all that is important?  
As a kid, this was a fun holiday that we spent with our immediate relatives.  I enjoyed playing with my cousins and being in the happy warmth of family. We would set up board games and play for hours while the aroma of food was in the air.  Those were carefree times! These past two years I have really approached this day as it is intended- to give thanks to all that I have to be thankful for. 

My sons are always in the forefront of my thoughts

I loved the holdiays being with my three cousins.  As an only child, I was often left wishing I had siblings.  Being with my cousins filled my time.  Perhaps that is why I always wanted a large family of my own.  I enjoy watching my sons, now young men, interacting with each other.  When on the rare occasions all agree and get along it's a beautiufl thing!  There are times, I'm sure, that they probably wish they had the peace and quiet the life of an only child brings. If they could only know how much I would give to have a holiday as they do.  What a dream it is for me to sit at a table with my four sisters and brother and  have my mothers (both of them!),  father, Diana and Steven all together at one time .  I hope as they grow older and wiser they will understand how lucky they are two be part of this group of four brothers. 

My four handsome sons - Nick, Tom, Tony and Jarett

I am particularly sappy and thankful during this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Christmas was always a favorite for me as it a joy for me to decorate the house, bake  and cook for the holidays.  I love making big platters filled with baked goods and enjoy sharing them with family and friends.  I love our Christmas day routine of  the boys opening stockings first while Tony and I cook a big breakfast.  The boys will sort through the pile of gifts under the tree and organize them.  We each will take turns opening our gifts so we can all see what the other has received.  I know this is not how many households will open their presents, but for us it has worked well.  I can truly see the joy on their faces with each gift. Oh, I know  what you are thinking- Christmas is not about gifts alone! It is a holy and important day. I know this too, but  I enjoy the gift giving part. 

Throughout the holidays I will think of my family.  Those near and far.  Those I see often and those I can not.  Those I have not yet met, but so long to do so.  Those who have gone before me and that I miss dearly.  Those I will never have the opportnity to know.

I am thankful for all of you who have taken me into your hearts, and for letting me into yours.  I am so grateful for this large family I have been given!!

I am truly blessed! 

taken the day after Thanksgiving, 2011

Branches Of My Life: Thanksgiving to Christmas.. My Favorite time of y...

Branches Of My Life: Thanksgiving to Christmas.. My Favorite time of y...:   Thanksgiving! It is a holiday I have always adored!Who doesn't enjoy the food, family and time to give thanks to all that is importan...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another milestone comes and goes...As we mark one year of being a family.

My Dad and Me

Heidi, Dad, Teisha and I July 23, 2011

So its Tuesday. I generally dislike Tuesdays.  Its a longer day for me at work and I'm always anxious to get to my day off on Wednesday.  Today was a particularly sad Tuesday for me even though I had the day off because today I had to say goodbye to my family that was visiting me.  Goodbyes have never been easy for me, this was no exception.

Thursday evening, after waiting anxiously like a 5 year old on Christmas Eve, Tony and I were able to welcome my father, Diana, and my sister Heidi into our home.  I've been counting down the months, weeks, days, then hours, then minutes until I would see them!! We haven't been together since October when Tony and I spent those 4 glorious days in Georgia at their home.

Now, to know me is to know that although I am can be happy about a situation, I still cannot shake the negative that is coming.  I promised myself that I would enjoy every minute I had with my sisters, Dad and Diana and not count down the hours til they had to leave.  I was pretty good about it this time too.  I did well until Monday when I knew it was the last day, but I'll save the sappy thoughts for later ! (shocker, lol!)

I have always been thankful for the fact that I entered this family with a feeling of belonging.  It's a fantastically strange feeling to have this kind of ease so early, but I did.  I have always felt an instant connection with them as I did with my mother when I met her.  It was something I did not expect. I'm  not sure if I didn't expect it because it was my father (vs. meeting my mom whom I'd felt in my heart forever) or what, but I'm grateful it is there.

Me and my cousin Patrick
We had an awesome time!  A great party Saturday evening having my Peterson side of the family meet my Gagnon side of the family.  I'm so happy everyone blended so well together!!  We continued to have fun for the rest of my weekend and I soaked up the time I had getting to know more about Heidi and my stepmama ( inside joke) Diana, Also getting more of that quality time with Teisha, Shawn and my Dad.  I wish I could have stopped time or at least slowed it down last saturday night!  We all got on so well that I was floating on cloud nine.   You can see in the pictures how truly happy I was.  I didn't get to spend time with our friends at that party as much as I would have liked, but other than that it was perfect! (I owe you another party dear friends!!) 

Two of the best guys you will ever meet!

Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Leonard

During their visit it was exactly a year that had passed since I met my father last July 22, 2010.  I cannot believe it but its true!  I feel like we have worked hard to catch up the time and the affect of that hard work is showing.  I really can't tell you in words how I feel about the time and effort my father has put into building our relationship.  And that is really what its about.  We both had to make a decision early on what this would be about.  For me it was simple, I would take all he would give.  He has surpassed my expectations as well as have my sisters Teisha and Heidi.  His wife Diana is someone I honestly just look forward to seeing! All of the wives that read this know if it weren't for her support, I wouldn't have as much of my father as I do.

Diana with my father

So, I wasn't going to write today, but i swore when I started this blog I'd write when I could.  Especially after good events.  I've re-read my blog recently and really you do forget some of the emotion!  After reading again, it just makes me more thankful for what I have. Today is a tough one though,which is why I will post this so late.  It hurts my heart to write about saying goodbye.  I now start my countdown again.  Three months until we meet again.

My next agenda is finally seeing my mother.  It has been my experience that I've missed her even more when I'm with him.  Crazy how your heart and mind work.


So, thanks to my Dad for making it all happen, being the great guy that he is.  For driving 17 hours to see me, staying in my crazy boy overrun home. For doing the everyday things with me this weekend that meant more to me than siteseeing and even the casino-- that's saying alot from me! (baseball games,  driving me around and grocery shopping--(oops, i still owe you that money!).  Thanks for making the trip Diana and Heidi.  Teisha and Shawn for thier 3rd trip down (I owe you a few trips too!)  And to many more years of doing the same ordinary things again.       

Teisha and me

Me with Heidi


Tommy and Debbie

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Birthdays, Father's Day, and Anniversaries (Oh My!)

This week in June is special to me.   It starts with my darling husband's birthday, today June 18th.  I always look forward to this day.  I love buying him something special , picking out the perfect card, and spending some peaceful time alone together.

Tomorrow is Father's Day.  A day for years I loved and cherished.  For as long as I can remember  it began with a gift for Daddy.  Maybe it was a picture I colored, a craft we made in girl scouts (with my mom as the leader), or later on a gift i picked out for a hard to buy for man. (hard to buy for because he generally didn't want anything!)  Oh how I dreaded picking something out for him. It was always so difficult to choose!  Now, I'd give anything to have to  hunt for the perfect gift.  Of course then I didn't realize how short our time would be.

The best fathers that I know!
  Me with my Dad 1974, me with my Dad 2010,
Tony and the boys  , my father in law Anton

This year father's day will still be a difficult day for me.  I'm sure it always will be to some extent.  This year I will take solace in the fact that I have a second father to love.  In that joy I've found I will celebrate two fathers.  One who is with me now , and one that will be in my heart forever.  I will try to focus on happy memories of the past and joyful thoughts of my future.

June now holds another meaningful day for me.  It is another anniversary of sorts.  June 23rd marks the day that my life changed forever.  It is added to a bevy of other days holding a special spot in my memories.  It is the day I decided to let go of fear, take a risk, and open my heart once again. June 23rd is eternally marked as the day the final piece of the puzzle that is my life was put into place.  The day I sent the email to my father that changed so many of our lives.

I have to say this year has been full of love and joy.  I have my first nephew and godson from Debbie and Tommy(added to all my other nieces and nephews!!!), have found my father, sisters, brother, and Diana.  It amazes me every time I think of how everything fell into place and how truly blessed I am to have all this love.

I have to thank both of my mothers for allowing this all to happen.  My mother (Irene) was always supportive of my finding my birthparents and family.  My mother (Pat) provided the basis for my wanting to find my father.  It was that first conversation  with her 13 1/2 years ago that gave me such a positive experience and outpouring of love that made the next meeting possible.  I don't think I ever would have contacted my father if she had not welcomed me with open arms.  So, for that oupouring of love that she gave me long ago, I thank her.

So June is full of good things for the men I love.   With luck July with follow with more happiness as my Dad, Diana, Heidi , and Teisha and Shawn come to visit me. We celebrate Andrew's first birthday in July too!  Oh, and did I mention I'm going to be an Auntie again!!?? Life is sweet <3

I dreamt of their faces for years.
Mom (Pat)  and Dad (Brent)