If we were having coffee today on this lovely Valentine’s Day, I would ask you to sit down for a few moments while I tell you the true story of how love conquered fear and loneliness and expanded our family. I dusted this post off out of the archives for just this very moment.
Nothing says “love” more than a family who adopts a child, let alone two.
When my brother married his wife 13 years ago, my sister-in-law already had two children of her own from her previous marriage. As both my niece and nephew grew up, and the house emptied, my bro and sis-n-law talked about adoption, since she was unable to bear more children. As they navigated the foster care system, they came upon two sisters who were in foster care and needed a permanent family.
My bro and sis-n-law originally wanted a baby, but when they saw the girls featured on a television news story, they fell in love. After the usual red-tape and legal hassles, the girls became permanent members of the family.
Big deal, right? Another successful adoption. While adoption is the crux of this story, the real story is about the power of love under extraordinary circumstances.
We already knew that my bro and sis-n-law were amazing parents. Sis-n-law’s daughter “KV” was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder at a young age and was medically treated, but not before she ended up in special education in school. After years of care and consistency, and dealing with KV’s bi-polar father and his shenanigans, KV was taken out of special education just before high school. That is a rarity. I saw first-hand what it took for my bro and sis-n-law to meet those challenges with love and amazing patience.
When the little girls were first fostered with my bro and sis-n-law, they required counseling, medical treatment, and a boat-load of patience. The girls had lived incredibly horrible childhoods, the youngest one being too young to remember much. The oldest one recently underwent hip replacement surgery to correct the results of this early childhood neglect and abuse. The rest of our family looked on in awe as bro and sis-n-law dealt with the strain of parenting these little girls.
I have loved watching my nieces grow up and enjoy normal, wonderful lives (camping trips to Yosemite, girl scouts, swimming lessons, summer camps). The oldest, AW, is now 12 years old, in middle school and LOVES to read. For someone not related by blood, she is kind of a mini-me (pictured). TW, at nine, is a girlie-girl, full of drama with a big imagination. They are deeply loved by all of us!
Bro and sis-n-law are in the process of fostering another little girl. They hope to eventually adopt her as well.
I have asked myself and others WHY would they want to keep going down this road? Do they not want peace? Bro is over 50 years old and never had children of his own. Bro is a wonderful uncle to my two daughters. Of course he wants children to call his own. And now he has them.
The gift of extraordinary parenting falls on very few people. The gift of love also fell heavily on my bro and sis-n-law and I stand in awe of them daily. If they can keep bestowing love on children who need it, then who am I to question God’s will?
I believe they find peace in knowing that they have literally saved lives, and for that, my heart overflows with love.
Please join fellow bloggers in February’s “Love is in Da Blog, hosted by “Just Fooling Around with Bee.” Share your stories, poems, and photos about love.
Today is my shameless plug to announce my two year wedding anniversary to my wonderful husband. I have been so busy with STUFF that I literally forgot what the date was today. One of my Facebook friends wished me happy anniversary on my timeline this morning! Oh yeah! It’s my anniversary!
I cannot express to you how wonderful a second-time around marriage is. I am not encouraging you to run out and experience one, unless, a) you are single and looking, or b) you are in a great relationship after a previous divorce and still deciding to tie that knot.
I am blessed with a wonderful man who adores me. Of course I adore him. He brought spontaneity and fun back into my life and in turn, I gave him the structure and support he needed in his life. Then he went and introduced me to windsurfing and a life of excitement and travel.
Gushing much? Yes. I am thankful to God for this relationship.
If you want to read more about my wonderful relationship, read here about how we met.
I would love to hear your second-time around stories.
For Valentine’s Day, I want to share this story that I guest posted on A Momma’s View .
After living in San Diego my whole life, I married young at age 20 to a young man who was from Northern California and ended up moving there. After 17 years we divorced and a few years later I got into another long-term relationship. Some men aren’t the marrying kind, especially in mid-life, so the relationship fizzled out since it was not going to become permanent. I was single again, now aged 48 and figured I was destined to be alone. I was interested in a couple of men but nothing happened.
At my 30-year high school reunion in San Diego, I thought I could meet someone who might be single…geez, I sound like a prowler (not cougar…). So yes, I met someone, but…naaaa! I had hoped to see a couple of men there but they did not attend the event.
Soon after the reunion, someone invited me to Facebook, so I joined, and connected with a large group of high school alumni. Fast forward a few months later, I noticed the photo of a particular man on Facebook who happened to be single (and amazingly still looking for his soul mate!). He was always someone I thought highly of in school (handsome, amazing athlete, you know…). He was still as handsome as ever and had posted pictures of himself windsurfing and was now living in Northern California.
Somehow between a friend request and a couple of e-mails back and forth, we started communicating. Every evening for a week, I would open Facebook hoping for another message, but alas, nothing for several days. So I did what any red-blooded, albeit slightly desperate woman would do, and I e-mailed him my phone number.
Right before Easter, my daughter, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, had broken her arm, so I had to drive there to help her (she had to have surgery, etc). As I was driving, my phone rang and I saw a number I did not recognize. I answered and it was HIM!! His first question was “How are you,” and his second question was, “How is your daughter?”
Wow, handsome AND caring!! He had seen my post. So we yacked for 90 minutes as if we had just spoken the day before. We had not seen each other since our 20-year reunion in 1998. We obviously hit it off and he liked talking on the phone (unusual for most men). He had just gotten back into town and of course I was two hours away helping my daughter; oh the irony!
In between surgery and doctors’ visits with my daughter, we talked on the phone over a four-day period. We made a date for a few days later. Our first date was dinner at Olive Garden. When I drove in to the apartment complex where he was staying with his friend, and as I got out of the car and walked up to him, he put his big arms around me and flat-out just picked me up (I’m not a small gal—5’8’’). In person, his sparkly green eyes and incredible personality was enough to make me swoon (hmm, maybe I should write romance novels…)
Of course dinner went great and we went back to his friend’s place and chatted. They showed me these windsurfing movies and I could see how passionate they were about this sport. So (being a pretty good swimmer and water enthusiast), I looked him in the eye and said, “That looks like fun, maybe you can teach me how to windsurf.” I’m pretty sure it was his turn to swoon!
Four and a half years later, we tied the knot at a small church wedding and we are still newlyweds in our mid-50s. I told him just today that I smile every time I think to myself “I’m married and I have a husband.” I consider myself blessed and lucky and I thank God every day for bringing him into my life!
A little puppy love from my fur-babies, Gideon and Aero. Gideon is four months older from a previous litter, same parents. Aero resembles the Cocker Spaniel side of the family. This photo was too sweet not to post!