Our child is so generous. She has her moments of teenage angst and hatefulness, but I can say with certainty that she is one of the most generous people I have ever met. She is thoughtful and considerate. Today, we went to Dillons (a local grocery store), and as we were checking out, she saw that Dillons was asking for donations, in order to provide flowers for children at the hospital on Valentine’s Day. Without skipping a beat, our child asked what we can do to help. She also donates her time to help out with the children’s activities during church, instead of hanging out with teenagers in the youth group. She graciously agreed to help her parents deliver meals for families at Thanksgiving without griping or complaining. She actually seemed to enjoy herself when we met with those who were unable to leave their homes or meet with loved ones during the Thanksgiving holiday. Finally, when I was fortunate enough to compete in Transformations, a local charity gala hosted by a female impersonator (our child’s people), she was so supportive of me, and once the event was over, she asked as many questions as she could regarding the event. She had the biggest smile on her face when I told her that I won – what a beautiful heart she has!
It’s been a little while (make that around 6 months to be exact) since we last wrote in the blog about our child. There are a couple of reasons for that: 1) as every parent knows, the Holidays and the time leading up to the Holidays can be particularly hectic; and 2) our child has had some particularly difficult behaviors that we have been working through. Our child had recently started lying, and I mean, lying about everything – including insignificant things. Tiff and I recognize that our child is now 13, and it is perfectly normal for her to cover her own mistakes with lying (i.e., “I swear I didn’t do it,” etc.). However, she has been lying about things that seem silly, and the elaborate nature of these lies were quite perplexing. She cut her hair without permission, even though she knows that all she has to do is notify us, so that we can supervise her cutting her hair. When Tiff discovered that she had cut her own hair, she told Tiff an elaborate story about how her hair has been falling out. Forty-five minutes later, she finally, admitted that she had used a razor to shave a part of her head. This is something that we all can laugh about now, but in the moment, we were so frustrated that we could barely keep from losing our minds.
Sometimes my sweet child does something so sweet that I forget about all of the tantrums, hissy fits, and hateful things she may have said to me. This was one of those times…
I had just put my sweet child to bed – tucked her in, told her I love her, etc. – and had begun my descent into what I have deemed, “Becca Time.” I was watching a TV sitcom, while in my jammies, slowing drifting off to sleep. I received a call from my child – she has a cell phone now, and she keeps it charging in her room at night. In the sweetest voice I have ever heard, she asked me, “Mom, will you pray with me? I am nervous about school tomorrow.” Sometimes, I am just struck by her vulnerability and how much she still needs us.
Our child typed this up on Sunday, July 27, 2014, and she asked that it be added to the blog:
“The three major changes to my life:
1. I have a family.
2. They love me.
3. They wish the best for me.
…and who are they? They are Tiffany and Becca (aka “the parental units”). They have given me pretty much everything I wanted, and they never once gave up on me – even when I said, “I give up.” For all you people reading this right now, I hope this blog fills your heart with love because it filled mine with so much love.
Enjoy. Live. Laugh. Love. This is my life, and now it is a part of yours!”
~ from the drag queen herself
This past month, we had the privilege of taking our child to New York City for the first time in her life. It was such a blessing to show our child the countryside…oh, I guess I didn’t mention that we drove the entire way! She got to see her first mountain, she collected dirt from various states we visited, and we showed her around St. Louis – where Tiff and I lived for 4 years, prior to returning to Lawrence. It was an amazing journey, and of course, she fell in love with the culture of Manhattan. She was so impressed by Times Square, the fashion worn by locals, and the stores with huge window displays. On our third day in the city, she even participated in a drag march for Pride Week – where her ‘gunkles’ (i.e., gay uncles) and their friends could ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ over her. It was as if she found her home – a place where she could be herself (not unlike Lawrence) AND thrive on the excitement of the ‘city that never sleeps.’ If only she could have tracked down and met a celebrity…which was her only regret 🙂 Although she was excited to get back home, it was a trip that I have a feeling, she will want to make again and again in her lifetime…if, of course, she doesn’t move there right after high school.
Since our child has been in our home (and even a year before this), she has had little contact with her biological siblings. As many of you know, this is not necessarily our choice, but it is because of a combination of factors, including the best interest of her other siblings. Tiff and I met with our child’s biological brother’s adoptive parents several months ago to determine if it was in the best interest of their child and our child to meet for a face-to-face visit. They have had a few visits over the phone prior to this ‘meeting of the parents,’ which had proven (for the most part) to be beneficial to both boys. After the meeting, which was AMAZING, we decided to schedule a time for the boys to have a face-to-face visit. Our family met their family in Lawrence, where we had homemade ice cream at Sylas and Maddy’s and then went to play in South Park. Although, it was a hot, muggy day, we could not have asked for a better visit. It was as if the boys didn’t skip a beat – they talked, shared stories, and they even played tag (our child ran around in her flats – which are her ‘athletic shoes’ 🙂 ). At the end of the visit, we took pictures, and our child’s biological brother’s mother repeated over and over again how happy our child is. She said, “I can’t believe how happy he is!” She knew our child before she joined our family, and she saw her in a very different environment and in a very different emotional place. She told me how great it was for her child to see how happy his brother is. The visit lasted approximately 2 hours before we all left. When our child got in to the car, the first words out of her mouth were, “Is it okay if I call my birth mom by her first name?” which is something she has never done, and quite frankly, something that we would not expect her to do. This was a sign that for her our family was feeling more and more like her forever family! We said, “Of course, Baby! You can call her whatever you want…did you have a good time?” “Yes, I did!” she said, and then, returned to playing on her iPod Touch.
On July 10, 2014, our child has officially lived in our home for one year! It has been a whirlwind of sorts – we all say, “It feels like you have been in our lives forever, and it feels like this year has flown by.” Tiff and I had the opportunity to celebrate our one-year anniversary with our child, and we did so by eating ice cream cake (kind of our schtick for celebrations) and sharing with our child how much we have seen her grow in the past year. In this short 365 days, she has: 1) learned appropriate ways to communicate her anger and frustration; 2) made the honor roll; 3) been selected to serve as the school’s Vice-President of the Student Council; 4) taken family vacations without serious melt-downs when returning home; 5) gained our trust; and 6) learned how to trust others. Sometimes, we forget how much she has been through in her short, little life, but we are so proud of her and all that she has accomplished!