Adoption can be a heartbreaking, painful journey. But it can also be the most beautiful and profound experience. I hope by sharing my experiences, and others like mine, adoption will no longer be a taboo subject.

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Santa's only bringing 3 presents this year

I'm coping this from my other blog ( If you see both, my apologies :)

So, tonight is Christmas Eve. Weird? Yes. Here's my take on Christmas.

I hate how commericalized Christmas is. Yeah, yeah, everyone says that. But really. I feel we have it extra hard in our house (I'm sure it's no worse than anywhere else, but it feels that way sometimes) because our little boy gets presents from Santa at two homes, mom and (step)dad, dad and (step)mom, 4 sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc etc etc. It's really hard to keep Christ in our home at Christmas time because there's so much focus on the "stuff" we are getting. I'm just as guilty as the next mom of trying to make sure that everyone has an excessive quantity of presents. I don't want anyone to feel left out, unloved, or anything else. Comparison really is the thief of joy.

This year we tried to focus on the Savior. As such, I jumped on board the train of "3 gifts" from Santa. That's not to say there's still not other presents from mom and dad and everyone else, but in our home, Santa is only bringing each person three gifts. And each of those has a very special meaning. We've been talking about it with our boy for the last month. We wrote a letter to Santa reqeusting that we keep the spirit of Christ in Christmas and that we don't need a lot of gifts this year. Because we've been talking about it, we've also been able to talk about the true meaning of Christmas and how to not be disappointed that Santa is only bringing our house 3 presents, even though he might be bringing other boys and girls way more.

Santa is bringing the following letter to be set up in the family room by our gifts:

Click to make it bigger

Each of our Santa presents will be labled with our name and Gold, Franinsence, or Myrrh.

Our gift of Gold is something we really want. For our boy, this is a toy. Everyone needs a toy on Christmas. For mom and dad, this is something fun that we each want.

Our Frankinsence is a spiritual book. For our boy, it's a story book of the Dinosaur who went to Church. For mom and dad, we each got a spiritual reference book. Next year we might go with a spiritual movie or something along those lines.

Our Myrrh is something for our bodies. This year that means clothes. Next year, who knows?

Here's to hoping that our Christmas can be a little more Christ-focused and a little less Santa focused.

You're a Used Piece of Garbage... and Other Bits of Garbage I've Heard

This post has been brewing for quite some time. I've started it, changed it, deleted it, and started it again. In my mind I've written it at least 20 times, but it's yet to make it to the "publish" stage. Why is that? Because this post is from the deepest part of me. It puts me in a place of vulnerability that I rarely like to go. It brings up some not so great memories, and it hurts my heart. But I feel like it needs to be said.

Tonight I was reading the book "Cinderella" by Jenni James (side note: if you want an easy, clean series that is full of good morals, check out any of her Faerie Tale Collection stories. Wonderful). In this adaptation, there is no magic. There's no fairy godmother to make everything better. There's no lost slipper, no chase at midnight. It's about making your own magic. Toward the end of the book, the heroine Ella and her handsome prince are talking. Their conversation goes like this:

"But, Ella, dear, you cannot wish to be their servant forever."
"Why not?" She closed her eyes. "I cannot see how I am worth anything more than that. I tell myself I am, but I cannot imagine trying to rise above this. It is all I have known for so long-- what if I fail at the rest? What if I cannot do all that will be expected of me? Then what?"
"Then you fail."
"So you fail. It's alright. We all fail. Every single one of us."
"It is part of life, my dear. You just pick yourself back up and move forward again. You certainly do not have to be perfect the very first time you attempt something new. What would be the point of living if you did not learn, if you did not grow and seek and challenge yourself?" He pulled back to look at her. "We need to live life, all of it-- the ups and downs, failures and successes-- for us to truly know our worth." His hand came up to cradle the side of her head. "Ella, what I believe you need to sort out first is the value you place upon yourself."
What value? Glancing down she grimaced.
"Ella, do not look away. Once you see your true worth, once you know exactly what you were meant to be-- not what you believe you are -- no, think past that to your destiny. Until you embrace all the world has to offer, you will never be free within your own heart. You will always be trapped within yourself, reminding your soul that you are not worth what others have. Whether you fail or not is not the question here; you will most certainly fail at times. What you need to ask yourself is whether you are ready to become all you were destined to be."

How often do we feel like we are destined to fail... that we are never going to be good enough, that we are not deserving of the [fill in the blank] others have. The happiness, the success, the education, the house, the car, the love, the relationship, the children... the list goes on. We always find ourselves lacking some essential component that we believe others to have. Some mystical element that entitles them to so much more than we deserve.

The world loves to tell us that we really aren't perfect. Those distant sources have a way of hitting the heart... but how much harder is it when that's the message we've been given time and time again by people who claim to care about us? People who might even say they love us? In my dating years, I heard some very uplifting messages from boyfriends or ex-boyfriends. A few of my favorites:

"You're nothing but a used piece of garbage guys will sleep with but never marry."

"It's too difficult to continue to love you."

When I found out I was pregnant with O, an ex said "I wish the baby was mine because then [and only then] I would have a reason to stay with you."

"I will come to resent you for taking away my freedom; I have goals I haven't accomplished and I will blame you for that down the road."

"You'll never find someone as good for you as me."

"No one will ever love you like I do."

I could continue, but you get the idea. Time and time again I was told by various people, many of whom I deeply cared for, that I wasn't good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough, spiritual enough, sexy enough, caring enough, etc etc etc enough to date/be with/marry.

With constant messages like that, is it any wonder my self esteem, my very sense of self worth, was zero? We all define ourselves by what others think. It's a natural thing to compare, to evaluate, and to judge. When we are in those years of trying to decide who we really are, and all the messages we are getting are about how we aren't and never will be quite enough to meet perfection, it's hard to dispute that. It's hard to continue to tell yourself that you deserve better, when deep down, you hear all those voices telling you that you DON'T deserve better. In fact, you're already reaching for the stars with your less-than-amazing situation.

I've had conversations with two different friends about their dating experiences in the past month. Both of these amazing women had the same thing to say-- "He's so amazing. He's [handsome, smart, funny, a good guy, spiritual, etc]. He is way too good for me. There's no way he would ever want to date me."

How do you argue that thinking when you know that experience has taught these phenomenal women that they really don't deserve someone awesome, and that they really aren't worthy of love?

How do you prove to a lost, lonely, insecure 18 year old that relationships can actually be built on love and trust; they don't have to be built on sex, control, and manipulation?

One of the things that frustrates me most about my adoption experience has nothing to do with adoption. It's the relationships I had which led to dating D. Time and time again I dated guys who were not good for me. Guys who were manipulative, persuasive, possessive. Guys who would only invite me over if they knew I'd spend the night. Guys who would tell me they loved me, but only after I did what they wanted to do. I learned pretty quick that the easiest way to gain control over the relationship and to hear those magic words was to do what was expected, whatever that was. I'm not just talking sex here. I'm talking about calling "him" at the right time, sending "him" the flirty text first, making sure to not be seen talking with other guys on campus, spending time with "him" instead of my roommates, doing homework first or not at all so "he" didn't have to change his schedule around, going to the games, sitting in the right spot to be seen, adjusting my bedtime to fit "his". As soon as I changed who I was to be who he wanted me to be, then I'd hear the words that I was dying to hear: "I love you Katelyn."

This cheapened everything. If you would have asked me who I was, what I liked, how I spent my time.... I'm not sure I could have told you anything about "Katelyn". I could have told you everything about whomever it was I was convinced loved me, but nothing about myself. I had no identity outside of being so-and-so's girlfriend. I was trying to find myself, but in doing so, lost myself even more.

Now that I'm in a healthy relationship, there is a big part of me that wants to go back in time and question teenage Katelyn on just what she thinks she's doing. I think about the relationships, the months of heartache, the conversations that cut me down, and to this day, it still hurts. And honestly, when things get a little rough at home, I hear all of those voices right back again, telling me I'm not good enough to have such an amazing husband, I'm not pretty enough, smart enough, kind enough, sweet enough, considerate enough; I'm not worthy of the great life I'm now blessed with. Just this week, in a moment of guilt, I said to myself, "I don't know how to be a good wife. I don't deserve The Mister. He could do so much better than me."

 It brings me back to Cinderella. Like most insecure humans, Ella questions what if she isn't good enough, smart enough, clever enough, strong enough? What if everything she's known thus far is as good as it gets and more than she deserves? What if she tries for greatness and fails?

I wish there were more Prince Charmings in the world. I wish there were more people who could look at us and say, "So what?" "So you failed? Oh well." "So you dated a jerk? Try again." "You can do so much better than this; no, you DESERVE so much better than this." "You are worth every struggle, every long night while you cry, every fight, every expense, every everything. You are worth so much more."

I'm lucky enough to have found my Prince Charming. He shakes his head when I cry about not being a good enough wife and mother, he holds me when I break down. He loves me unconditionally-- without manipulation, persuasion, or possession. He lifts me up so I can be a better person; he doesn't bring me down so he can stay in control.

And when those horrible little voices of boyfriends past rudely remind me that I'm not worth any of this, and it will never stick around, and I'm going to be left heartbroken and disenchanted, I imagine my love saying, much as Prince Charming did, "Whether you fail or not is not the question here; you will most certainly fail at times. What you need to ask yourself is whether you are ready to become all you were destined to be."

After years of honest soul searching, prayer, and self discovery, I can answer with sincerity, "Yes. I'm ready." Can you?

This week...

This week was amazing. I was able to go to a fantastic birthmom retreat and spend some quality time with some of the most strong, mature, impressive women I've ever met. I have a few different posts I plan on writing based on this experience. Today, let me just sum it up with this: We laughed, we cried, we met new friends, we grieved, we healed. I'm so blessed to have had this opportunity.

In other news, today rocked too! I blogged about it on my personal blog though, so you wouldn't have to see 25 pictures. You're welcome.

The Life of K (Personal Blog)

I just need to add a side note: Heather is the AMAZING adoptive mom (such an unneeded title. She is the most amazing MOM) who blogs over at Tender Mercies . She has three of the most darling daughters. The oldest is the same age as the little man, so he was pretty darn excited to meet a new friend today.

The world of adoption is fantastic my friends. Life is good. I'm blessed to know so many people from all sides of the adoption triad, and I wouldn't trade that for anything!

Six month recap... In pictures

Also known as, all the reasons I've been MIA from the blogging world. Enjoy.







Another birthday

Sweet baby O is officially 5. I got the greatest email from Mr R & Mrs S today, telling me all about how happy and great O is and how his birthday was wonderful. I adore getting emails and pictures from them. It's peace to my soul to know sweet boy is doing well and loving life.

That doesn't mean today was easy. It was actually a harder than normal birthday. I had a dream last night that I was holding O, and waking up from that was devastating. Then, part of my inlaw family celebration today included singing happy birthday to the people who had May birthdays in the fam. That meant we sang to my oh so wonderful 5 year old step son. I started to cry singing happy birthday.... It's not a song I can sing on May 26 without a lot of heartbreak apparently. It was honestly just a hard, hard day. But it's now after midnight and I made it through. One more year down.

Most people do a one- year recap on their birthdays, at the new year, etc. I realized its become my tradition to do a yearly recap on O's birthday. I wondered why that was for a little while, then came to this conclusion: Everything I did for the first few years after O was born was to make myself into a person he could one day be proud to call his birthmomma. It also was healing for me in the first year after O was born to just look back and realize that I somehow made it through an entire year. Now his birthday is a time to celebrate and a time to reflect, on him, on me, and on life in general.

In the last year I:
- Got married (and gained a hubby and a child)
- Passed my Clinical Social Worker test
- Moved to Kaysville to spend time in a two bedroom townhouse with the mister
- Lots of family time
- Moved back to WVC into my sister's house so they could go have an adventure
- Tried to figure out how to live with a spouse and not want to kill them :)
- Started job number one
- Realized I hated job number one and tried to find a new one
- Bought a truck
- Started job number two
- Started job number three on the side of job two
- Bought my first home
- Spent my first night with my mister and our boy in OUR home. Last night. It rocked.

I'm sure there are a million other things that happened in the last year, but those are the major ones. It's been a pretty eventful year with BIG events. A wedding, a reception, several moves, new jobs, and to top it off with buying and moving into our first home. I'm now a private practice therapist. And I work 52 on call hours a week for the hospitals. Woah. Life is crazy and busy and going directions I never dreamed it would. But that's where we are. And I wouldn't change a single thing.

When I do adoption presentations in schools I always get asked "Do you regret it?" The easiest answer to that question is "No." But there is more than that. Yes, there are days it really sucks. Yes, there are days that I wish I didn't have to have. Mother's Day and his birthday are easily the hardest days of the year. I hate them both. There are days that I question and wonder and wish things could have been differently. But I do not regret a single thing about my experience. I love my sweet boy with all of my heart. His entering my life changed everything about me. It changed my perspective, my attitude, my personality, my outlook. It changed the relationships I had with my family and friends and it impacted the relationships I've had since then. It opened up opportunities and doors I would have never known existed. I became a much kinder, more open, less negative, more accepting person. I learned what it means to be unfairly judged and vowed to never do that to someone else. I learned what a precious relationship I have with my family here and with my Heavenly Father. I learned the true meaning of love, sacrifice, and heartache. I came to appreciate the love of a parent in putting their child first. I learned how it feels to wonder why you are being left alone, lonely, and devastated. I learned that the comfort of the Holy Ghost is a tangible thing. I learned that there are some genuinely amazing, caring, loving people in this world. I also learned the world can be a cold, cruel, heartless place. I think more than anything else though, I learned who I truly am. I learned what it means to be a daughter of God. I learned the role and expectations I have to fulfill. I learned that Heaven has a plan for every single person on the earth. And I learned that no matter how hard, difficult, terrifying, heartbreaking, and devastating it might seem.... It really does all work out eventually. And it works a lot easier when you trust that you're not in it alone. 

Those are lessons I wouldn't trade for anything. Even on the hardest days, the privilege I have of being the woman blessed to experience and be a small part of O's life is astounding. It is the greatest blessing I could imagine to be a mother, no matter the amount of time. 

Happy birthday my son.