Monday, February 25, 2013

30 Blessings

I guess turning thirty is supposed to elicit some sad feelings of getting older....or so I hear.  I will be honest.   I did not really think about it.  I mean, I realized it was my birthday.  I realized it was the thirtieth.  I did not have some epiphany, life crisis, or changes.  It did, however, allow me to reflect and truly appreciate the blessings and the people I have.  Because let me tell you, there are days when I struggle to see the blessings.  You would not think that ... I have a wonderful husband, two kids from Africa thus having seen some the saddest parts of the world, I have a great job....  Nevertheless, I continually see myself through the first world lens....the lens that depicts me as overweight/fat/whatever you want to call it and this so called lens tents all other aspects of my life.  For example, I think "Because I am overweight, I am not a good enough doctor/mom/lover/mother/friend" or "Everyone sees me as fat and do not see me as a good doctor/friend/daughter/etc...."  I realize that is unreasonable, irrational, that there are bigger problems in this world.  I mean, come on.  I have adopted two children from a third world country.... I have lived in a third world country.... I see kids die.... So yes, I get the world has bigger issues.

Yet as I flew home from New Orleans where I was presenting a poster at a medical conference, I sat there, in between sleeping, thinking "Stop being so hard on yourself.....Get over yourself....look at all your blessings" So here are my 30 honor of my 30th birthday.....

1) JT: There aren't enough words I can say. For being social when I'd rather be in my own bubble, being organized and anal in the midst of my chaos. For loving me despite myself.

2) Tedi: for making me a mother, for his gentle spirit and kind words and unconditional love of everyone.

3) Chernet: for teaching me patience and unconditional love. For showing me that I have more energy than I think I do and for a smile that can change your day.

4) My family..... I have a dad and mom who are proud of me regardless and would give me the world if they could and "step" family members who treat me like their own...

5) Work.... while it is not an easy job at times, I am lucky to have a job I love, that challenges me, and work with people whom I admire and make me better.

6) Church.  I attend church at a place that is dedicated to serving.  That is what Jesus looks like to me.

7) My missional community (aka small group)...we don't just get together and boringly read Leviticus.  We actually live life together....funerals, moving, babies, adoptions, celebrations, dinners and struggles.

8) My health.  Yes, I know. I am overweight, but I am lucky to have good health.  I am not in great shape but I have my health.

9) My sister....though very different from me, I can not think about my life without her.

10) Other adoptive families: To see other people living like us and giving our boys a connection to their heritage.  Especially knowing people who get it.

11) My gift of sarcasm: While still learning to be aware of my audience, it is a gift that allows me to deal with the beautiful and butterfly-filled world around us.

12) My medical school:  Yes, I went to a Caribbean school that was expensive and stressful, but I am a doc now and I am a better person for the experience.

13) Greeting Cards: getting them but mainly giving, I also think I've said enough about these on my blog that you get the gist of my love for cards.

14)  Central Air and Heat: Having lived in an environment where I paid for electricity by the minute, I love being cool or warm when I want...

15)  Ice Cream...yes, it contributes to my weight.  I love it.

16)  New Friends... I realize now that each new friend has been intentionally placed in my life and am thankful for what I am able to give them, if anything, and what they are able to teach me about myself.

17) Words... both the words I write and the words I read. While I want to share what is on my mind with those around me, I often have a hard time doing that verbally, and therefore writing is a medium where I can do this freely.

18)Work friends; co-residents, nurses, and even attendings have become more than just friends...they have become more like family.

19) For friends who tell it like it is whether you want to hear it, whether you blush, whether you get pissed, or whether you get embarrassed because it makes you feel good about yourself. I am thankful that there are people out there who will actually put you in your place.

20)  Music.... all kinds.  You should see my Pandora...Zac Brown Band, Wilson Phillips, Matthew West, Sister Hazel, Pink, Michael Buble Christmas.... you get the picture.  Music is memories and each song is a special memory.  So while I am a horrible music, I am thankful for thee

21) Christmas. Santa. Baby Jesus. Family. Trees. Carols. Smells. Love Actually.

22) Old friends...a reflection into my past and have picked me up along the way.

23) First moms... the Ethiopian women who birthed and mothered my sons, before giving me a chance to be their mother.

24)  Diet Coke.... stupid, yes.  But I love it.

25)  Down Comforter....following diet coke, only barely.

26)  Good make up and perfume. I don't consider myself high maintenance in many realms, but I love me some Daisy perfume, Fresh Chapstick, and Dior mascara. (though I only buy it once a year after Christmas)

27) Lazy Sundays. Football games, sweat pants, naps, pizza, and my boys. Enough said.

28) Board prep materials. I'm not thankful for them now, but I hear I will be after October 22nd.

29)  Getting my hair done, I love when someone else plays with my hair, and that I can sit there and not think or worry.  My hair dresser gets mad at me because I only come 3 times a year and my boys go once a month.

30)  My salvation...without it none of the other stuff matters.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Before You Were Mine

A few months ago Carissa Woodwyk, a adoptee who speaks on adoption from her perspective, asked for people to read and review her book that was coming out.  I agreed, thinking, "well, I have read most adoption books, and I have done a life book for Tedi...but what is there to lose?"  I was wrong.  It was such a humbling book.  Even with Chernet, where the details are sparse, it gave me tools to prepare something for him.

Here is the review I wrote for the book.  I encourage you to check it out.

"When I adopted our first son, I was guilty of saving every momento, picture, and piece of paper throughout the process for his "lifebook." It was not until he was home for over a year, in the middle of our second adoption, that I realized this was more than a scrapbook of our adoption. We were going to meet his birth mom and I wanted to tell the real story for him. I did my best but still felt something was missing
I finished "Before You Were Mine" and now feel equipped to do justice to both of my sons' stories, both the one overflowing with information and the one scarce and full of pain. Having heard Carissa Woodwyk speak previously, I instantly valued her opinion, but having that combined with Susan's personal experience as an adoptive mom gave a palpable and real look at the impact of lifebooks in both the adoptee and the adoptive parent's life. Moreover, they integrate the necessity of faith and Christ words into the lifebook in a way that both teaches and gives deeper meaning the child's journey. A must read for all adoptive parents."