July 22, 2013

The Stubborn and the Strong

The truth about life adopted is that it’s not all you live. Although I will always be adopted and it forever impacts my past, present and future there are many other things going on at the same time.

Photo Credit: UplandAccess, Flickr
I am blessed with a 26-year marriage, and three children. Like most if not all people, there are always issues weighing on my mind concerning my family. As a mother, I become concerned about things with my kids. Most any given week I am doing what some Pentecostals call “carpet time” on their behalf. (This consists of laying on the carpet crying out in prayer, asking begging God to do something). I am trying to keep a marriage strong. We pastor a church. Yes, it’s a wonderful thing but takes a tremendous amount of energy and fortitude. Not complaining, just stating fact.

One day I was sharing with a friend everything going on in my life aside from adoption and she said, “Oh my gosh, you have all this going on, AND you’re adopted?” I replied that I don't have any other choice.  And if you’re an adoptee, you don’t either. You have a whole life outside of adoption issues, to navigate. Doing it well is definitely intentional.

Why Focus On It At All?

I've heard this before. 
How stupid it is to even think about adoption, as an adult. 
Why am I even involved in all this "adoptee stuff"?

 "Forget about being adopted. You aren't adopted. You were adopted. Just move on."

Some call this perspective "overcoming" or "victory." Or for Christians, having a "renewed mind."

Actually it's called denial or life in the fog.

No thanks.

Photo Credit: Doug88888, Flickr

 Summer Off

I mentioned weeks ago that I took the summer off from speaking engagements outside the church. When things  first happened with my original mother on February 28, I decided shortly thereafter to not accept any invitations for the summer and spend my time focusing on healing and working on me. There was one conference that I kept on the schedule, the “Soul Spa” Conference in Lakeland, FL. That was this past weekend and it went amazing! 

Now I’m back to focusing on things at home, following my therapist’s advice to move forward.

Speaking of that…

I'm Actually Moving Forward!

In our last session, Melissa told me she was so very proud of my progress, and it’s time to start spreading out our appointments, because I’m doing so well. 

I was kind of afraid of that. Almost makes me want to fake it.

One of my post adoption issues is having serious angst about saying goodbye, to anyone. 

The day before therapy I had been talking with Laura Dennis and told her I was afraid to say goodbye to Melissa. She thought I should tell her that. I didn’t want to. 

The next day I was shocked to hear Melissa say we needed to talk about this very thing, without me even bringing it up. She said it was essential, because I am doing so well. “Deanna, you’ve taken therapy very seriously, done a tremendous amount of work on yourself, and I could not be prouder of you.  I will always be your therapist as long as you want me to be. You can keep me for life if you desire – making an appointment if anything comes up where you would need help again. But truth be told, you’re getting so strong on the issues you came in here for. And ethics demand that we discuss a plan to make a transition." 

Yes, this made me happy.
And, it made me sad.
And, according to Melissa, that’s okay.

We’re still meeting for now, with tapered visits, but apparently it’s official. I am in my right mind. Perfectly sane. 

Apparently I'm in a really healthy place.    
Yay, for me. 

Photo Credit: begineer photos, Flickr
How is she?

Many people ask me how Judy is doing, and what our level of contact is. 

After the last phone call I decided that for now, I will send her cards. And, my phone calls will be with Tom. I call him at home every few days, before or after he goes to the hospital to see her.

I’m not saying it will always stay this way but for now it’s what I’m comfortable with.
I don’t have to fear being verbally or emotionally beaten up on a call with Tom, and I have the ability to express my care and concern in writing to Judy with cards and such. 

I am open to another call with Judy, or a visit. I’m open to God to nudge me in that direction anytime. I don’t feel the urge from Him to do that right at this moment in time.

As far as her health, she has had two more procedures, and is healing from them and now awaits chemo and radiation. We are all still hoping for miracles.  Thanks for hoping and praying with us. 

Photo Credit: Elisa Santarelli, Flickr

Life with Tom

Calls with Tom are always like being dipped in a pool of peace. On our last call he reminded me again that he’s always seen me as a daughter. And, that he and Judy have had some tiffs about him apparently being “wrapped around my little finger.” 

On our last call he ended with, “Just want you to know we love you.”
“Yes,” I said, “likewise.”
“Did you catch the ‘we’?” He said.
“Yeahhhhh…I did...why?”

“Well, I want you to know that WE love you, not just ME. We do love you, even if you only feel that love from one of us.”


Apparently she told him our last call did not go well. I never told him that. I don't need to bash her or rehash everything she says.  I believe her only goal should be to rest and try to get better. And his only goal should be to help her do that. But evidently she told him what happened on our phone call.  Hence the reason he is apparently perceived as being “wrapped around my little finger.”  Needless to say...he doesn't always agree with her. Surprise, surprise. Apparently I'm on not the only one who is in their right mind.

I’m really not trying to wrap him or anybody around my finger…just trying to do the best I can, the best I know how, every day to navigate this. 

Stubborn Vs. Strong

My friend Sherrill Ellis, a pastor's wife, said something to me a few months ago that got my attention in a big way. Some things just stay with you, and this did.

She said, “Deanna, there is fine line between strong and stubborn and it seems we have two women, one strong and one stubborn. Walk in the strength you have and don't let the stubborn control you.”

I have realized certain genetic and other components my original mother or siblings and I share.Every gift, talent, attribute, characteristic or whatever you want to call it, has a dark side. Sherrill identified that stubborn and strong are closely related yet not the same.

I see that my mother is stubborn and it has affected her entire life and affects not only our relationship but many other aspects of her life, now. 

If I am not careful, I too could slip into this stubbornness instead of being strong.
Strong is powerful. Good. World changing.
Stubborn can lead to loss, destruction and so much more. 

Sherrill cautioned me to not allow stubborn to control me, and I received that word and have meditated on it these past months. How do I develop more as a strong, but not stubborn woman? This has been a question I have taken to God in prayer many times.  

I have learned it is such a fine line between stubborn and strong, I need the Holy Spirit's help to discern it on most days.

I Get to Write My Story

There is a relentless cry in my spirit that I get to choose who I am. No matter what has happened to me past or present, I get to decide who I’m going to be now. I don’t want to throw that choice away.  

I won’t throw that choice away.

Among other things I have decided:
Strong, not stubborn.
Loving, not hateful.
Forgiving, not unforgiving.
Better, not bitter.

When it comes down to it, it's a choice to follow Jesus more, every day.