August 2, 2013

Why Yesterday's Birthday Was the Best EVER.

Photo Credit: Droid Gingerbread, Flickr
Yesterday was my birthday. The first present I got was being a year younger than before!  How, you might ask? Well, I'm so horrible at math I've miscalculated my age for years and have been telling everyone the wrong age! 

I realized I even put the wrong age on my medical forms for probably the last 3 years or so.

 Larry said, "I tried to tell you that you had been adding it up wrong."  

All this time I had thought he was being nice and just trying to console me. But it's true -- I am a bit younger than I thought, but still woefully inept at math.

Birthdays are a serious challenge for a lot of adoptees. Some go into depression. Others refuse to celebrate it at all. Right now I'm praying some people through their birthdays. 

For me, some birthdays have been awesome and others were a challenge. It just depended on what year it was and what the plans were.

Yesterday's birthday was different than any other, EVER in my life.

I took the day off which is what I like to do on my birthday.  (This usually means I have to work a lot harder on the other days, which I will actually do through the weekend.)

I started the day with dark roast coffee and a mani and pedi.

What my nails look like today.
My husband joined me for lunch (seafood -- nom, nom, nom!) and then took me shopping.  I got some things I wanted and a few things I needed. We totally enjoyed the afternoon and evening together. He totally rocked my world.

My children shared such wonderful words of love.
(Jordan had to work and Savanna is an intern at camp until today. So we're having our family birthday dinner tonight. I can't wait!)  

My family. As if you haven't seen enough pictures of
Feelin' the Love... 

A great number of our church family where we pastor reached out to me with such care.   

My adoptive parents and sister and several others in my adoptive family reached out with their well wishes and love. 

My mother-in-love expressed her love absolute adoration. She thinks I'm the Pentecostal Mother Teresa, remember?!

My natural sister reached out with words of blessing.

I heard nothing from my natural mom.
But I can't say that I was surprised.

Right now I’m sending her cards and notes, but keeping my phone calls to conversations with Tom. (This is because talks between she and I don't go so well right now.)

Last week was her birthday I sent a note and a gift last week. 

First Moms know. They just do. 

Yesterday on the Adoptee Restoration Facebook page one of the first mothers reached out and said, “Whether you hear from her or not, she’s thinking of you…”

I can’t even describe what that meant to me.

The first mom knew.
She knew what I was feeling and she knew what my first mom would be feeling too.

Time and again over the past two years the adoptee and first mother community have wrapped their arms around me. There's nothing like the amazing love that flows from this community! For me, it's "Jesus with skin on." I feel the love, all year long. And yesterday, I felt it big!

How We Met

I began writing at Lost Daughters on August 13, 2012 with this, my first post. It was a safe place for me to write about adoption, surrounded by the Lost Daughters sisterhood.  I became the spiritual columnist there -- still am. And then on January 1, 2013, encouraged by my LD sisters and many others in the community, I launched this blog to expand my writing on adoption.

So...this was my first birthday as an adoption blogger. This made my birthday wayyyyyyy different this year than any other.  

Every adoptee doesn’t feel the same way about their birthday.  I've learned from listening that whether they love it or loathe it, they all seem to recognize their birthday as being different from other people's.  It's a day most adoptees think about their first mother, and wonder if she's thinking about them. And most adoptees I've talked to think and wonder, and yes...grieve at least a little, on that day.  

No matter how you feel about your birthday as an adoptee, or what it's like for you to navigate the day of your child's birth as a first mom, so many of you reached out to care about me on my day.  Many of you said, “Deanna, whatever you needed out of this day, my hope and prayer is that you got it.” 

I did. 

I got you! Gotcha! LOL Couldn't resist.

Adoptee Blogger, or Cult Leader?

  My first mom doesn’t see me as those of you who read here do.

As I've mentioned before, she doesn't read this blog. She thinks the adoptee and first mother community is “a virus…a sickness.”) But she does read my weekly “Cup of Coffee with Deanna” ezine, (you can sign up for it here - shameless plug!) and though not a reader here, she is aware of this blog and my writing at Lost Daughters.

On our last phone call, she let me know she was upset about one of my Cup of Coffee ezine writings and something she disagreed with there and said: “Who do you think you are? I’ll tell you what I think. It's like you're a pied piper and have all your minions following you!!!"


I apparently have a lot of power. 

Then why doesn't everyone attend prayer meeting at our church? 

She says that I write things and people just follow me in droves…

Photo Credit: Avrene, Flickr

Warning: Unsubscribe when I get to the point of offering you koolaid or asking you guys to join me at an adoptee commune in Guyana.

My friends Bonnie and Gayle joke about the minions part and tell me they are honored to be my minions! They said they’ll follow me anywhere.  Yeah, like right into IHOP where we eat pancakes every Wednesday night after church. Oooo danger danger!! Next I may lead my readers to Charlotte Russe where they can indulge their shoe addiction, and buy one, get one half price

It’s so cray cray, I have to laugh or I’ll crack. (As in emotionally crack, not do crack.)

My friends are good at providing laughs and a shoulder to cry on.
Minion cartoons are a staple in my inbox.

Keep in mind this was just PART of a painful 45 minute conversation where I only spoke for five minutes. 

[Double Sigh]   

The bottom line

My first mom has cancer.
And that breaks my heart.
I love her so much.
And things are still tense. Worse than having President Obama and Sean Hannity in the same room. 
And she thinks I’m a pied piper with minions. 
Or maybe that's just the medication talking? I don't know. 
And I sent her a birthday present and a note last Wednesday.
And my birthday was yesterday.
And we haven't talked.
And that hurts. 

And it’s okay.

Let Me Introduce Myself

I know who I am.
And I’ve decided who I’m going to be.
And nobody's going to change that including the person who gave birth to me.

I get a choice to decide who I’m going to be, everyday.

I’m not a pied piper. 

But I am an influencer. And in that, I'm...
Amazed. Humbled. Grateful. And a prayerful steward of my influence.

Master of minions? No, although I do have followers.
Every leader has followers and I accept the call God has placed upon my life.

She's not going to talk me out of that.
Nobody's going to talk me out of it!  [Deanna waves hanky here...wipes sweat]

And I am going to keep loving, giving and being who God made me to be, regardless of what anyone else says or does.

The Actual Response

“But what did you say to her when she said all this pied piper-minion stuff?” you may wonder. (Others have asked me, so I thought you might want to know.)

I wanted to say so much.
I wanted to go cray cray.
But I didn’t.
It won’t help anyway. 
And, she has cancer and I'm careful to not say anything that would be upsetting.

As I shared in this post, I only talked for about five minutes, and started out by saying, “I called to tell you two things today – I’m sorry you’re sick, and I love you. I’m so sad that it’s turned into something else besides that.”

I went on to say, "I do want to answer your question regarding who I think I am. know who I am. I’m Deanna. One called by God. A leader. A person who lives openly and shares transparently in writing and speaking. I respect your decision to live as you do. I'd appreciate your respect for the decision I’ve made to be who I am. How about if you be you, and I’ll be me?”


I never got an answer. 

Tom says she can’t accept who I am, at least for now.

 (Note: That saddens him. He hopes things will change.)

Yes, yes, Tom is the greatest thing since sliced bread. 
Since Channing Tatum. 

I've decided who I'm going to be.

Regardless of what any of my family does, birth or adoptive.
Regardless of whether I get all of my personal history, as much as I want and deserve it.
Regardless of who, what, when, where, how or why...

I have chosen who I'm going to be.
And, I have an amazing community surrounding me. makes this birthday altogether different. 

Did I mention, Melissa (my therapist) says I'm doing amazzzzinnnngggg? She affirms I'm in a great place emotionally and spiritually. 

Yes, I know I did mention it. I just wanna give myself another woot woot for being in my right mind!!

I shoulda been in a straight jacket by now...BUT GOD!!! (Shout NOW, somebody!)

Amidst my natural mother's silence, a choir of voices rang out -- countless adoptees and first moms among them. 

I felt so cherished yesterday. By God. By all of you. 

I felt His presence through this amazing community.

You rock. 

I love you. Thank you for loving me. <3