9 Months

9 months

Throughout our adoption process when I was getting frustrated with how things were going my mom used to say “You know, God gives you 9 months of pregnancy because he know that’s how long you needed to adjust to such a big change.” She was saying that since we didn’t have 9 months, it’s understandable there were some bumps. I figured since we never planned on have birth children I would never get to test out this theory personally.

Well, I’m here to tell you that she was right. It takes about 9 months for your mind to catch up to the reality of a huge change and to adjust your life around it.

A little over 9 months ago I got a call that will forever change my life. My sister called to say that my mom was dead. I was shocked. My mom wasn’t sick and we had no reason to expect anything like this. She simply went to sleep and didn’t wake up again. My life spun into a chaos I have never experienced. I don’t even remember all of what happened the following weeks as we dealt with moms affairs, planned a funeral, and went through her apartment. I was torn in so many direction. My kids, who has just lost their first grandmother, were back in MN and I needed to be in NE to help my siblings deal with stuff. It was by far the most difficult week of my life.

It’s been 9 months now. And I am continually surprised by how much has changed. How the simple fact of no longer having a mother changes so much, so much more than just the areas of my life she was actively involved in. It changes how I see myself, how I relate to people, how I parent, what I choose to do, basically everything.

Please do not misunderstand, I have so many people that love me and have been supporting me through this. I have an amazing husband, great family, great in-laws, and a great church family. But no matter what they do or say, they will never be my mom.

I naively figured that since I was an adult out living on my own with my own family, maybe losing her would be easier. I mean I had already dealt with moving away from home and her selling the house I grew up in and getting an apartment. Even when she sold the house I never felt like I lost my childhood home, but now I feel like it’s all gone. Like wherever she was was home.

There have been moments (many to be honest) throughout these past 9 months that I was sure I wouldn’t make it. That this was my limit and I would just explode or cease existing or something. I was sure that things would never get better, and I would always feel that bad.

Now, 9 months later I see things differently. Don’t get my wrong, I still get way more crabby and short tempered then before and still take showers somedays for the sole purpose of crying and not bothering anyone. But I also see the joy and happiness, I enjoy experiences with my kids, I enjoy crafting bc it reminds me of my mom. I enjoy learning new things and doing things I didn’t think I could do before. I know that I had to re-establish who exactly I was after loosing her. I had to find “Katie” again and figure out who she was and what she wanted. That was hard enough! But there were also my kids that were struggling and missing her and dealing with the birth family abandonment issues that this brought up.

Basically I just wanted to say, to write it down so I can look back when I need to, that it does get better. Because I’m sure there will be days where it feels like it won’t.

I also realized throughout all this how blessed I am. Not only did I get to have a mother who taught me what it means to be strong , how to ask for help, and how to be independent and just do things if you want to, but I also have an amazingly supportive family. Upon hearing the news, my in laws offered to drive me to NE, my dad (who was divorced from my mom for 10+ years) paid for a plane ticket and dropped everything in case I needed him. My grandmother opened her house to be our home base and feed us amazing food and loved on us when we needed it. And my aunts and uncles, people that live hours away and I only see once every couple of years, dropped everything and came to NE and offered anything my siblings and I needed. They were gracious in letting us kids plan things but were able to step in and help when we needed (like that so bad it was almost funny meeting with the priest for the funeral). I was in awe, and still am, at how my family come together and supports each other no questions asked. I am so blessed to have them and to raise my children in that environment. So they can see first hand what family means. That family means forever, and no matter what, and no matter where.

So 9 months ago my life changed in a horrible gut wrenching way, but I am slowly learning to find myself again and enjoy my days. I have come to find out that my mom was right, it does take about 9 months to begin to get adjusted!


I’m Baaaaack!

So….its been quiet a while since I have posted. No real excuses, blogging just fell off my priority list. Life got busy and went on without me realizing how long it had been. I forgot the reasons I started this in the first place. Then I was reading this month’s book club book (only just started so I can’t say if it is good or not) This Road We Traveled by Jane Kirkpatrick and one line really stuck out to me. The granddaughter is asking the grandma to write her autobiography and she says this: “I want to know when trouble found you and how you got out of it. That’ll help me when I get into trouble.”

And it hit me, THAT’S why I do this. To both shine a light into my world and get support for myself (and sometimes to remind myself of things) and to be a window into this world for others. So hopefully, I’ll be back more (once a week is my goal right now). Now I definitely DON’T have an the answers!!! But as I learned a couple weekends ago at an FASD mom’s retreat (which was amazing!) simply sharing your struggles and having someone identify that they too have those struggles lifts the burden a bit. We were never meant to do life alone.

As we are living life day in and day out, sometimes I forget that we have unique challenges. I forget about the FASD, the past trauma stuff and expect the kids to act like “normal” kids. Most of the time they are amazing. They really are great kids. But sometimes my expectations for them are not realistic and I need to keep reminding myself of that at times. Sometimes the stuff that comes with adoption that happens outside of my realm of influence really impact the kids and its hard. From not being able to schedule a visit with bio-siblings in 2 years to reminders of birth family when classmates have similar names to questions about history, and birth family, and “What are they doing now, mom?” that I simply don’t know (and probably won’t ever know the answer to). I tell them this and suggest we pray for them because God knows or write a letter for the Birth mom Box (not sure if i have touched on this at all, maybe I will in an upcoming post. If i don’t, someone remind me!)

I love this crazy little family we have made. I love the fact that while Skye is struggling with sassiness and refusal in school she comes home and we try to solve the problems. I love that it finally feels like it is us AND her fighting against the world as opposed to us fighting her. I love that Cayla is at the stage where she is soaking up every single drop of knowledge that she can. I love that she thinks I know everything and have the answers. I love that Preston is blossoming into a little social butterfly, that during our evening walks multiple kids call his name to say hi. I love that he is confident enough in himself to be the only one clapping at a song at church. I love that Joel and I are working together, learning as we go, and making date nights a priority (even if it is just a Costco run).

I’m sure there will be a LOT of stuff to write about in the coming months with the holidays and such. So hopefully you will hear from me again.

The things you’ll never hear me say…………

Being an adoptive parent means having to constantly fight for what our children need. It’s never easy. Putting on that brave face, that armor every day, means it can sometimes be too hard to let that more vulnerable side of us be seen. There are some things you will never hear an adopter say………………… I’ll […]


2am Phone Call Mom

Adoptive Mom is a badge I wear proudly. I am proud of the story that God weaved (and is weaving) together to form my family. I am proud of the hard work that went into creating this amazing family I call mine. However, sometimes that’s not what I see for myself. Adoptive mom, Biological mom, Foster mom, ect. There are SOO many labels to preface mom with that sometimes I forget that the most important part is the MOM part.

This week has been REALLY hard. Preston is sick and has been for 7 days. With multiple ER trips and no definitive answer as to what is going on Joel and I are focusing more in easing his pain and discomfort and being there when he needs us. This has resulted in shift work parenting. I take most nights and Joel takes days and we switch when we need to. I am so thankful to have this amazing man to help carry this burden of parenting that feels just a bit heavier when we have a sick little one! Having a sicky sick face kid pulls on ALL my mom heart strings. One night, around 11pm when Joel ran to Walgreens for some drinks and snacks that Preston could tolerate, I was snuggling with my boy and at a complete loss for what was wrong and how to fix it. As a parent you want to fix it and take away the pain and all I could do was be with him and snuggle for a while. I mean he didn’t even want a popsicle! (He did say that he wanted it when his stomach was nice again though! 🙂 ) As I sat there confused and worried, I practically subconsciously reached for my phone and called my mom. My mom who was hours away and maybe sleeping. My mom who quickly answered and offered a listening ear and some support.

It was at that moment that it hit me. I don’t want to be an “adoptive mom” I want to be a “2am phone call mom”. I want to be the kind of mom that so fills up her kids with love and support that they automatically reach out to me when they need something. That they know without a shadow of a doubt that I will be there for them anywhere, anytime. The kind of mom where they don’t worry if I will be upset or mad or if they will get in trouble, but they know that should there be consequences we will deal with them together, as a team. That even if they made a horrible choice, I will without thinking come and help and we can deal with the rest later. That’s the kind of mom I strive to be. The kind that stay up all night with a sick boy who only wants to snuggle. Who listens to ENDLESS pre-teen drama and helps sort it out. Who encourages kids to find their own solutions, but will be there should they need some options.

I am so lucky and thankful to have many MANY people I could call in the wee hours of the night that would help, listen, advise, and support. I have countless friends and family that I often lean on for support. But in those moments when you are at the end of your rope, tired and confused, feeling inadequate and hopeless you just want your mom. You want to reach out to a person you felt safe with when you were small and sick or scared.

That’s the mom I want to be. That’s the relationship I hope and pray that I am cultivating in my children. I want them to know that no matter how horrible or hard or confusing or just stressful things are they ALWAYS have someone in their corner, even if it is just to listen. That’s the reason I give my all to this thing called motherhood. That is what is so heartbreaking when I think of unadopted kids in foster care. That sense of security and a home base, that is more of a person that a place really. That belief, that is of VITAL importance, that you are loved and cared about. That belief that is so ingrained you have no reason to doubt or question it. I missed out on building that belief from conception and early childhood. To build that from scratch starting at age 7, or 5, or 3 is more challenging then I would have guess, but it is also more important that I would have dared to believe.

So every late night, every tearful conversations, every brainstorming of solutions, every advocating for them is for this purpose: That my children not only “know” but believe in their innermost core that they are loved and cared for and that I will be there for them NO MATTER WHAT.

National Adoption Month Post!

I have been MIA from the blogging world for quite some time. Rest assured, it is because I have been soaking up the extra time I have to spend with my amazing children. Since November is National Adoption Month I felt the need to follow up on last years post: Don’t Do it!

Here’s the thing, everything I wrote there was true. Adoption is horrendously difficult, but then small moments pass me by during the day and I stop and marvel at how amazing adoption is. For example, while the kids were in school today I was doing some house cleaning that is easier with no kids around. I went to clean the sliding door. We recently found window markers when cleaning out some craft stuff and the kids have LOVED using them. As I opened the shade to clean I came across this:
With no prompting or big theological discussion I found my children (one of my girls since they are the only ones that can read) expressing their love of God and the fact that GOD IS GOOD!!! Yes, all parents would be proud of that, but this literally took my breath away. My children have experienced LITERALLY the WORST humanity can offer. Practically every vile, horrifying, nauseating thing you can think of that happens to children happened to my amazing kids. They came into our home with only 11 months of safety in their ENTIRE LIVES. They had every reason to believe that the world and everyone in it was evil. That they lived in a ‘dog eat dog’ world and they better get prepared.

Yet here I sit, 25 months after my kids moved in marveling at how God has used their lives to teach me so much about His love. How if my kids can believe so intrinsically that God is good that it comes out in their play/crafts how can I not be more firm in my belief?

After I wiped my tears I continued cleaning (but didn’t clean the window!) and this song came on my playlist:

This song sums up nearly everything I wanted to say about adoption. You know adoption will be hard, but how hard it is can be surprising to say the least!!!! I have wondered many times in this journey if there was hope to carry on, hardly believing that the horrifying circumstances in our life would be made good let alone beautiful! Yet here I am, living out each day noticing the small ways that this HAS been made beautiful! At times I fear what life will look like for me and my kids in the next 5, 10, 15, and 20 years. Yet if God can do what He has already done in all of our lives in just 25 months, imagine what He can do in 20 years!

Yes, adoption is hard. Your heart will break, you will question EVERYTHING you know, you will think you made a HUGE mistake, that the kids would be better off with almost literally anyone else. You will be sure that you have further traumatized them. What’s hard to remember in those times is that the result isn’t up to you. You pour in love and support and safety and a million other things, but in the end you offer up your life’s most important work (parenting your children) at God’s feet, praying that He will bring a harvest. Believing, sometimes in spite of everything you see and feel and hear and experience, that yes, EVEN THIS can be made beautiful!


Today summer starts! Today Skye and Cayka finished their school year. It was a year full of bumps and challenges but also full of hope and growth! The kids physically grew SOOOO much! That’s good because they had a lot of catching up to do. We grew and bonded as a family and overcome a lot of challenges. We have learned more about our kids and what they need. Where to be strict and were to be flexible. We have watched them develop into their own unique personalities and loved getting to know them as they become more comfortable. 

Today we worked together as a family to pack and get to our vacations. I got to see my kids so excited (like silent screams and saying things like “just calm down Cayla, we’re not there yet”) I got to see the kids be respectful even when tired and cramped. I saw kids using their words and asking for what they need. 

When we got to the vacation I saw them voicing their concerns (about bears and mom being eaten by one when I said I would keep them safe no matter what) and see them make up their own games and play in the same yard my grandma, dad and I played in when we were young. 

Today I feel so unbelievably blessed. Will we have hard times adjusting to the summer? Absolutely! But I am confident that together as a family we can meet those challenges!