and the beat goes on …

fall mantle

We are already three days into the Fall season, the daily beat of our lives rolls one day into the next. Leaves are beginning to turn and our annual Indian summer weather is at its peak.

Our girls have been back into their school routine for a month now.  It is hard to believe our summer break has already been over that long. Our oldest daughter is now a 4th grader and our youngest a 2nd grader.

There have been some fits and starts to this school year. Homework from the first day of school proved to create anger and frustration for our youngest.  The class was working on the story Chrysanthemum the young mouse learning about her name.  What could the anger be towards such a sweet story?  Well our youngest wasn’t sure she wanted to share her story about how she got her name.  You see her birth mom, my husband and I all worked together in naming her and she didn’t want to share her whole story.  We talked about what she was angry and frustrated about this homework assignment. She shared she didn’t want to tell her whole story she didn’t want everyone to know our family story.  We assured her that was ok.  We reminded her how we all came up with her name sharing the name definitions that helped us to choose the names she has. This seemed to make her brighten knowing the whole story but also there was a part she could share that was appropriate for her class mates.

As our younger daughter seemed to struggle with who and what to share about our family story this year, our older daughter was struggling with a bully in her classroom and for a second year being in a classroom without any of her friends.  The bullying began during summer on swim team and just our luck this girl was part of this years’ class.  As the school year started up, a new student at school started to harass our daughter and now she had to deal with two who were in her class day in and day out.  We tried to give her the tools to find her strength to walk away, say stop or whatever was needed as an incident occurred.  At the same time, I was in contact with the school principal and her teacher.  The principal didn’t seem to understand the enormity of this trifecta, being alone and isolated, and 2 bullies in her classroom.  Her teacher shared that she wouldn’t allow bullying but you know what? it isn’t always going to be in her classroom for her to stop.  What is the emotional toll day in and day out for my daughter to be in this class?  We are here to support our daughter, I am at the school helping in the classroom, and we have given her an emotional safe place to talk about what’s going on.  I see her sadness and it breaks my heart. I am still working on correcting this with the district and school principal.  I’ve been through this too and survived it alone and I can share this with her and hope together we can find her strength to make her way through.

I never knew the full extent of how our parenting would have an effect on our girls.  What I am sure about, is my being a stay-at-home mom is helping to know what’s going on at school for our girls and be aware of their daily lives.

With the start-up of school was the return of Fall soccer, Girl Scouts and our continued dance in ballet.  Our schedules after school are full and tight.  Friday is the only day without a practice or dance class.  We have managed to find our new balance for our activities so far but the tipping point could be the start-up of Sunday rehearsals for the Christmas ballet that both of our girls will be performing in this year.

While our girls have returned to school, I have signed on to work at our school as a substitute (as needed) lunch & yard duty person.  Right after I submitted my paperwork to the district our school needed me so M-F from 11:30-1:30 PM you will find me at school fulfilling my role.  My end date right now is in mid-October.  The extra bit of cash will be nice and I like that the job is not always 5 days every week.

Now the days are shorter with dark coming before 8 pm, our schedules are full with homework, soccer, dance, girl scouts and we are full swing into Fall.  It is at our nightly dinners we talk about our day.

How is your Fall starting?

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in her little girl voice she asked

“Where do I belong?”

It was not too long after my birthday and the fun surprise visit from our little’s birth mom.  She seemed suddenly unable to know who or where she belonged in our family.

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My heart knows where she belongs with ALL of us as we are all family.  I spoke with her trying to get her to explain how she was feeling.  Trying to answer her questions and emotions.  Letting her ask and speak before reassuring her that we are all family.  That we all love each other and explaining how our family came to be.  How S chose us to be her parents. How we love S and we love her. How she can love S like we do and does not need to choose who to love.

But I’ve come to realize that it’s not just me she needs to talk about this. My husband and I have reached out to our community in search of a child therapist to give our daughter a safe place to speak all her feelings and emotions.  We never want her to feel divided or unsure where she belongs and so it is with that belief that we will find her someone to talk to.

I hurt for my little girl.  I cannot imagine what she feels in this situation we can only find ways to be there for her and allow her the space and place to work this out.

What makes a Real Family?

the definition of real From the Free Dictionary:
re·al 1 (rē′əl, rēl)
adj.

a. Being or occurring in fact or actuality; having verifiable existence: real objects; a real illness.
b. True and actual; not imaginary, alleged, or ideal: real people, not ghosts; a film based on real life.

what-is-real4 (1)

The question what makes a REAL family? seems to infer that we are not actually REAL in our children’s lives.  Our daughter’s each have two REAL families that are part of their lives and love them.

Why do people ask REAL? I’ve been approached and asked in conversation when it is known our family was built through adoption if our girls know their REAL mom? My first thought is that I am as REAL as it gets and then I reply yes in fact they do know and have a relationship with their birth moms and their families. Another question that comes up often is asking if they are REAL sisters? Yes they are, not by blood but through our family they are sisters.

This is when you can decide to educate or walk away. I usually take the effort to educate. I’m not offended when asked this question, it is not asked with malice but more of ignorance on how a family lives in an open adoption. Not everyone is experienced in this. They don’t necessarily know the terminology or quite frankly how it all works. As common as I think our family is in our world, not everyone knows a family like ours.

We are a REAL family ALL of us, we are as REAL as it gets and I am thankful that we are all intertwined as family together with our girls. From our girls’ great grandparents through their siblings from their birth family through to each of our families and each other. The love that surrounds our girls is REAL too and that’s how we like it!

Ask our girls, we, my husband and I, are REAL REAL too!

This my 10th post for National Blog Posting Month, please click #NaBloPoMo to read posts from the many other bloggers participating, Enjoy!

and so the school year begins …

and so the school year begins here is an email sent to my younger daughter’s first grade teacher today.
 
 
Hello Ms. N,
 
J is currently working on her homework, all about me and it prompted me to write.  
 
I wanted to let you know in advance so you may have an understanding of what she is sharing. Our family was built through adoption.  Both of our girls were entrusted to us at birth and we have continued family relationships with their birth families including and not limited to their birth mothers, birth fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings.  
 
So on her page she has listed she has 2 brothers and 1 sister.  This is true and how she knows her family (her sister has 3 other sisters).  They each live with her birth family, one with her birth mother and the other with her birth father. We see them, have pictures of them, etc.
 
Our family has blended beautifully and J is choosing to share this.  She is at an age now when she can decide who she shares with.  If you think at any time I need to come to class and help explain how our family was built for the other students to understand, please let me know I’d be happy to read a book and talk about it with them.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thanks,