Raising Someone Else’s Children

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Raising Someone Else’s Children
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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“Did you ever think of adoption?” I asked

“I’m not going to raise a kid for 18 years and then have them at age 18 turn around and say, YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER!” she said.

This was a conversation I had with a female friend who was having difficulty conceiving a child. It hit home in a big way. I had already raised twins that were not my biological children and almost as soon as the daughter became legal age she declared “you are not my mother!” This was the same daughter that years earlier and when her friends asked, “Is that your step-mom?” Her response then was “no that is my mom, the only mom I have ever known.” Her birth mother died not long after she was born and I started mothering them at just 87 days old.

Raising kids is a challenge. It is a tremendous commitment and a whole lot of work. And when they are babies and really little it is so much easier than any teenage daughter ever would be. I raised the twins with their natural father. We became involved the same year that his wife died. I too had been widowed. We had an instant connection. It has lasted and is coming up on 25 years now.

Early on friends said to me, “that really is asking a lot of you from him, to raise his kids.” I shrugged it off. The same way I shrugged off the child care director who on her own stated, “He fell into a rose garden when he met you.” I shrugged that comment off as well. I loved him and I loved his children. We took two heartbroken families and tried to mend them together to form one traditional family.

It was never easy. In the beginning it would be my then 11 year old daughter that would declare with conviction “I think I want it even more than you!” She was onboard and at that time it meant the world to me. My husband and the twin’s father did everything he could to make sure that we were one united family. I think he was more hurt and upset to have his daughter become so unappreciative and so unloving and unkind in her very hurtful declarations. I knew it wasn’t me. I had already done the work. I had already raised her. Her narrative needed to go along with the choices she was making in her life.

Another friend was raised by devoted parents a loving mother and father, his birth mother gave him up at age 16 and never looked back. In his early thirties he started having problems with alcohol, he was addicted and just before seeking treatment he went on a quest to find his “real mother.” Those were his words. All his life he wondered about her. Did she ever think of him? Wonder how he was doing?

He finally tracked her down and with much anticipation he met her. The meeting went well. They agreed to continue with a relationship. He tried, his mother never tried to see him again. Now he lives with what he calls “twice rejected” it happens. Not all efforts to reconnect last and grow. Some never take root.

My son gets upset when his twin sister calls me “Bernadette” it doesn’t bother me, that’s my name and I know that we don’t get to rewrite history, well maybe in our own minds. I didn’t mother and parent someone else’s children for any awards or special acknowledgements; I did it because I could. They were children in need of a mother; I was in a position to be their mother. I loved their father and by extension I loved his children too.

I remember a little girl who adored me. I have the pictures and her journal entries to prove it. I have my memories of taking her to all her pediatrician appointments and being there for all the first and last days of school. I sat in the counselor’s office when it was time to decide what kind of course for her education. Years later I sat in the different guidance counselor’s office fighting for her and why she shouldn’t have to take the same algebra class for the fourth time! We won that argument too!

We had our nails done together and I helped her pick her dress for prom and gave my advice on dating etc. For years we watched back-to-back episodes of the Gilmore Girls from my bed. We told the boys, her brother and my husband that it was “our time” and we enjoyed every moment and every single episode.

Years ago I wrote an article titled “Perfect Parents” it is about parents that died and went to heaven and ultimately became “perfect parents” because we don’t speak ill of the dead. I suspect that is how she looks at her “real” mother now.

Raising children is a huge challenge! Some days are great and far exceed any expectations and other days you know what wearing your heart outside your body feels like, in the end I wouldn’t change anything. Everything is an experience and a learning opportunity. You learn that you really can love someone else’s child as though they were your very own child.

At the end of my life I can say, I raised twins! I raised someone else’s children! And regardless of the outcome, I am so proud of the many efforts that both my husband and I afforded them. In our care and with our love and guidance they did well. They went from pre-mature twins with a variety of health issues to functioning young adults. Our work is done. They are soon to be 25 years old and we know that we gave it all we had to give and did our very best. What more could you expect from any parent?

Here it to all parents out there, the ones who actually do the work whether it is for a biological child or someone else’s child … it is noble and truly an act of love and often an adventure!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

If You Think You Can, You Can!

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If You Think You Can, You Can!
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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If you think you can, you can! This first came to me from a favorite teacher when I was a young girl in school. It has stayed with me ever since. The mind is the computer system of the body, what goes in is what comes out. If we believe that we can achieve it we will.

The opposite is true as well if you tell yourself that you can’t do it, you won’t do it. There is nothing that we can’t achieve if we work hard enough for it and believe in it. One of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves is to believe in ourselves and our own abilities.

This mantra doesn’t just work with the goals that we set for ourselves like becoming the class President or securing that job. It also can be used when we are faced with adversity. As human beings we are survivors and have a built in desire to live, to survive and even thrive.

One of the reasons I love teachers so much and have so many in my life as good friends is because they don’t see the obstacle as much as they see the possibilities. They know that with effort and the right attitude everything and anything is possible.

When we are faced with a challenge and a struggle and with adversity we must learn to use the same tools of “If you think you can, you can!” If you think you can beat cancer you will try your hardest, if you think you can get over “it” “him” or “her.” You will!

It is when we tell ourselves that “we can’t” is when we are doomed to fail. Kids have a natural born in desire with an “I can do that!” attitude. We should remember that as we age. If we believe in ourselves and believe that there is nothing we can’t accomplish with the right mind set we become fully accomplished. Then there is no challenge that we cannot overcome. So often getting through that challenge and to the other side is when we see the gifts of overcoming that which was once an obstacle.

Change your thinking and change your world. If you think you can, you can! Say it, see it, believe it and then do it!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

The Heart and Head Conflict of a Parent

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The Heart and Head Conflict of a Parent
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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My husband and I have often lead with our hearts, when in retrospect it might have been better to lead with our head. When it comes to raising children it can be a real challenge making decisions for our children when our heart is telling us one thing but our head is saying another.

It has been said that “bigger kids means bigger problems.” Our kids enjoyed a certain amount of success while under our care. When we made all the decisions they were all doing well and set for success. Each child looked and acted fit. Each child was encouraged to do their best and to lead with their own unique talents. We wanted them to be happy but we also wanted then to be successful in life. We knew that our job in being “in control” would end one day and they would transition from child to adult.

As I read through social media earlier today a friend wrote this statement:

“I feel that the toughest part about parenthood – once our kids are adults is that we lose control. We have no control any longer, like we did when they were under our watch as toddlers and teens. We lose control of the five W’s:
– Where they go/Where they live
– What they do
– Who they choose to be/Who’s attracted into their lives
– When we get to be together
– Why they want/do/pick/think/decide
We are forced to trust our babies to themselves, to others, and to the world … and that’s a LOT to ask of a parent. We hope we did our jobs okay when we did have control.

So now we want to, have to, and do … trust our precious beings to God and to the universe … and we pray for the best outcomes possible. While we sit here and watch. Out of control. Cheers to all of us parents. The most emotional, challenging — and rewarding — job on Earth.” S.S. 10/12/16

Only a seasoned parent with years and years of parenting under their belts could/would fully appreciate the quote above. Kids are so ready to call us “controlling” yet those “controls” often were what was necessary to avoid further hurts and conflicts.

As we become those “mature parents” with our own rich history in parenting, it doesn’t take much thought to think back to all the times we challenged our own parents as we also needed to transition from child to adult.

“A parents job is to give a kid what they need and not what they want.” Dr. R.

One of the hardest decisions any parent will make is in the letting go. We think we know what is best and even if we are right, they still need to learn and to grow and to see and experience it all for themselves. Even if we are “right” we don’t get to decide when our children are adults.

Prayers up for all the parents of adult children who are learning to let them go, and doing so with grace and love.

Prayers up for all the adult children that are exercising their adult status and making their own decisions.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Comfort Zone

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Comfort Zone
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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We all have one! We all have a comfort zone where things come easily to us and where we are most comfortable. However, it has been said that “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Neale Donald Walsch

Most of us would agree that real growth happens when we do step out of our norm and that which is known to us and when we try something new. It could be a new job or a new relationship or travel to a foreign country and learning a new language.

As soon as we try something new, we begin to learn again. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I entered into a 5k walk/run for a local charity. I am not a runner! I never had any intention of running but I did want the experience and to support the cause. My goal was a fast paced walk and to complete the course and do so in under an hour. I met all my goals. Not only did I meet the goal I had set but I also took at least three photos along the way, stopped to tie my sneakers and grabbed a complimentary sip of a drink. Point is that if I was really serious about my time I wouldn’t have hesitated for photos, shoes and a drink. Next year the goal will be to beat my own time!

Entering in a race is completely out of my comfort zone and considering I was tasked with cooking a complete traditional Thanksgiving dinner later that day I could have easily opted out. But the race was my idea and I had engaged my husband and our son too. We were all thrilled to do it and it was a great weather day and a perfect early morning start to our Thanksgiving holiday. It looks like we may have created a new family tradition.

I felt so good after and yet this was completely out of my comfort zone … age 56 and yet another experience I can now add to my life!
Setting goals and trying new things is what life and living is all about. It renews our spirits when we challenge ourselves and when we leave our comfort zone to do so.

“The real value of setting goals is not the recognition or reward; it’s the person we become by finding the discipline, courage and commitment to achieve them.” Catsmiley.com

So here it to living a life that includes brand new experiences, meeting new goals and accepting new challenges as we take a step outside of our own self-created comfort zone …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble