I just heard the news about Linkin Park’s front man Chester Bennington. I was a fan of Linkin Park growing up and followed Chester’s career. I was not a major fan by any means but he influenced so many who make amazing music today. What an incredible talent.
I just had to take a moment and share my thoughts.
Before anyone passes judgement, calls this man selfish or brushes this tragedy under the rug I want you to know that Depression and Anxiety is a real condition that can lead anyone to believe their life is not worth living anymore. Depression is the only condition that lies to you and tells you that there is no way out. Depression is the only ailment that lies to you and tells you that people do not love you. That decision he made was full of pain, fear, lies, and a heavy heavy heart. To make that decision involves someone not being able to take another breath without it physically hurting. I am in no way saying that what he did was okay, but you must take a moment and put yourself in the position of someone in that much pain…
As someone who has personally dealt with anxiety, depression and a history of substance abuse I know what that sort of pain feels like. I have never gotten close to making that decision and following through with it, but I have been in enough pain where I would be able to understand his suffering and understand why he would believe his life was not worth living anymore.
This man had 6 children and a world of people who admired him. He had fame, fortune, success and abundance of love. It is clear that this man’s decision was fueled by the lies of depression, internal anguish, and years and years of epic pain. Just listen to his lyrics, he has been suffering for many years.
I spend a lot of my time in Depression peer support. It is one of my passions. I know the pain Depression brings and it takes someone who has been there to even grasp that pain. Depression is the only physical ailment that you cannot see deteriorating someone. Depression can drive a person into the ground and no one would ever know. It is clear that Chest was driven to a point of no return. The pain of his existence got to be to much. Should he have made that decision? Absolutely not! If Depression was more acknowledged and understood by the world, perhaps Chester would have sought help rather than end his life?
Depression will stop you and tell you you cannot get better. If someone does not understand the lies of depression and that it is infact something you can put into remission they might make a decision to find help rather than end their lives.
Depression is real and its painful. My heart explodes for Chester’s family and as I wipe my tears from my eyes I send my love to Chester’s soul. I hope he has found some peace. I know you might think he may not deserve it because of the pain he caused his family, but you have to know that someone has to be in one terrible painful place to give up like he did. Chester wherever you are my heart breaks for you. I wish I knew you and that I could stop and hug you and lead and guide you to help. It is to bad someone didn’t stop you and guide you to the truth.
Chester you are loved and you are not alone. There are millions of people battling depression and as a survivor I tell you… I’m sorry this happened to you.
So incase you were not aware, I am a top Beachbody Coach. That is how I got my start in blogging and building a following through sharing my fitness story. I will be sprinkling a bit about my fitness journey on this blog as it is a big part of who I am. I hope that whatever I share with you will only inspire you to make the changes in your life that you desire. I am just here trying to make a difference!
One angry Mama
2 failed pregnancies
2 years of being pregnant
A massive storm of negative self talk
a brand new baby
a spirited 5 year old
So why am I angry? Well wouldn’t you if you felt like so much of what you have worked for has fallen by the waist side? My fitness (rightfully so) has been the least of my concern in the last 2 years. It used to be my passion, my therapy, my release. It used to be my main hobby and something that I would never let go of. Cut to 2 years later and I have completely let that go. So yes I am angry, but I am angry in a good way! Sometimes it takes anger to make a massive change. I am taking one final look at my body … because it is the last time it will look and feel the way it does.
My body has been 180 LBS, 160LBS, 150 LBS, back up to 180 LBS back down to 160 LBS… My body has taken a beating and my strength and endurance is back to where it was before I ever started in fitness. So yes I am angry… but I have a choice! I can give up and walk away from his fit life I so desire… (I mean heck, its easier just to ignore that that lifestyle exists) or I can draw a line in the sand and say that my bad habits stop right here.
I am angry and I am going to do something about it. So I am saying good bye to the bad habits and saying hello to the new, fit, happy, healthy Mom I am desiring to be.
This week I kick off my total body makeover! I will be diving into the shop with my trainer Chris Downing. We are going to kill it with a 9 week journey to the improved version of myself.
So say BYE BYE EVERYONE! Anita 2.0 is coming!
I am sneaking away from a busy Independence Day weekend! It has been absolutely beautiful here in Grand Rapids. I cannot help but want to be out side 24/7! Warren is playing quietly and Scarlett and Eric are asleep. These early mornings are my jam! I get up, I make myself a cup of coffee and I write… IN SILENCE!
As we drove in the night to unite with the baby that God created for us in our hearts I felt this sudden fear… What if I do not love him as I love my Scarlett? What if we never bond? What if Eric does not bond? I whipped out my phone and hopped on Doctor Google! Normally this is a habit I try to steer clear from but I was looking for reassurance. Some where deep down in my heart I knew I would have no trouble bonding to this baby. I have dreamed about him for years. I loved him the moment he came to mind. Google confirmed what I already knew. I read countless adoption stories written by new and excited Mothers and Fathers. The general consensus was the love happens within days! It isn’t so much the moment you lay eyes on the baby, but rather once you begin to really take care of the baby. This description reminded me of a very special but frightening moment in my life!
The moment Scarlett was laid in my arms I felt shock, I felt panic, I looked around for the burst of love that so many people talk about. It was not there. I felt terrible for this. What if I was a terrible Mom? What if I am a heartless human being? I let this panic and fear steal my joy for a number of days. I finally hopped on Google and found similar stories of other Women feeling the same way, but found that burst of love within weeks of taking care of their baby. And they were right. Within days I began to feel that burst of love. I had to remind myself that this would more than likely be the same with Warren. So I calmed myself, I distracted myself and I began to pray and meditate on the gratitude and excitement that I felt and wanted to bask in. This moment is the moment I had waited for for years. I was going to hold my baby finally! I pushed the negative out of my mind and got focused on the here and now!
As we approached Charlotte North Carolina our hearts began to pound. Each of us were giddy with excitement. Of course I began video recording our entrance into the Hospital. There it was, The Levine Children’s Hospital. We walked in and there we were greeted by this tall beautiful woman with a giant smile on her face. She approached Scarlett immediately and asked her if she was ready to be a big sister!? This was my dear sweet friend Lindsay Smith (https://hersouloutloud.com/2017/06/20/i-know-an-angel-and-her-name-is-lindsay/). We were then greeted by a man with a video camera and my new sweet friend Allison! I recognized Allison’s face, she had written the original post on Facebook that led me to Lindsay’s blog post! After our introductions to everyone, I looked at Lindsay and said “How have we never met?” I felt like she and I were long time besties. She said “we were not meant to have until now.”
The attorney’s arrived after a 30 minute wait in the lobby. We immediately signed the paper work to take custody of Warren. Up until this point we have only seen a few photos of Warren. I had no idea what he was going to be like. I just knew that I would love him no matter what. It was not even a question. He was ours.
We made our way to the NICU and scrubbed in! It was finally time to meet our boy. We were taken to a private family waiting room and waited as Lindsay went to grab Warren and bring him to us. At this point I was shaking, my heart was pounding out of my chest. My hands were shaking. The what ifs started to roll in. Would I be freaked out by all of the wires? Am I smart enough and strong enough to care for this baby who has special needs that I have never had experience with? The door opened and in rolled a baby hospital bed, heart rate monitors, an IV stand, GI tubes and a few other wires that made no sense to me! Lindsay immediately picked up Warren, I stood up with my heart pounding out of my chest, and tears rolling down my face and finally my son was in my arms. Lindsay had handed him off to me. This Woman who never let a day go by without visiting Warren, this Women who was his advocate for 4 weeks, she handed him off to his Mama!
The rest of that hour was a blur. We took countless photos, we starred into each others eyes. We scanned every inch of Warren’s face. We kissed him, we hugged him, and we cried. Did I feel that burst of love on impact? No. I felt excitement and like a weight of immense pain relieving itself from my body. I had to remind myself that the burst of love would come just like it did with Scarlett. But for now… I just need to be present in the moment. (for those of you who struggle with Anxiety know exactly what I am talking about).
I was a bit nervous when I saw all of the chords and monitors. I remember asking myself ” am I cut out for this? Can I do this?” At first I was to afraid to say anything, but finally I told Eric that I was afraid I would not be good enough for Warren. Eric assured me that we could do this, and that he believed in me! I was all in. There was no turning back. Warren and I were a thing now and nothing could take that away!
The next few days were spent sitting and longing into Warren’s eyes. It was our goal as a family to spend as much time together as possible before Scarlett and Eric left to head back to Michigan. Time seemed to fly by! Eric and Scarlett packed up the car and they headed back to Michigan. I remember crying as they pulled away. I was terrified that something bad would happen to them because I was not with them. Fortunately they made it home safe! Eric had a few hiccups along the way, one being an issue with his testicle that caused a ton of pain, but he is okay now!
(this is how we spent time together as a family while separated)
After Eric and Scarlett hit the road, it was the Anita and Warren show. We were blessed with time to just be alone and be together. We were given the opportunity to just focus on creating a bond. He was my #1 concern and I was so thankful for every single second.
“Echogenic bowl, clubbed feet, Trisomy 21, disability, handicap”. These words were thrown around in front of Eric and I for months while we prepared for the arrival of our Son Jack. For Doctors and Nurses it was so matter of fact for them. For us these words changed our entire lives. At first these words scared us, but as we prepared for our Jack All we felt and saw was unconditional love. Clubbed Feet or not… he was ours. We loved him the moment we knew he was in my belly. I still love him and he is still perfect.
“Absent Septum Pellucidum, Hypoplastic Corpus Callosum, Hypomyelination, and a premature-looking Cortical Brain Convolution. The Cerebellum looked small and there is a cyctic dilation of the posterior fossa with a possible vermis hypoplasia, and small volume intraventricular hemorrhage without hydrocephalus. Baby Z’s radiologist noted that the abnormalities in his MRI indicate possible neurological complications, including seizures, learning disabilities, speech delays, and feeding challenges. Eric and I read these words, and again they meant nothing to us. All Eric and I saw was love. All we saw was our Son. Disability or not we were going to go get our son.
The moment I laid eyes on Warren’s story my heart shot through my chest. It was 9:00 on Saturday morning. I was up early getting my workout in and preparing for my day. Scarlett had her first Soccer practice and I was jazzed to see her run around on the field. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is check my phone (I know, bad habit! But had I not, I would have missed out. You’ll see why in a minute). I saw this:
“Anita I thought of you the moment I read this. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10101158099506556&set=a.543365863746.2081263.45504810&type=3&theater” This message came from my friend Cate Beard (who just took custody of two children she will be adopting as well!)
I clicked on the link immediately and began to read. I then followed another link to here: http://www.onloanfromheaven.com/2017/06/urgent-baby-z-needs-family.html. With my hands shaking and my heart racing I followed the instructions and I submitted our profile and home study to Lindsay the author of Onloanfromheaven.com (Lindsay is also the Case Manager who worked with Warren’s first mother through her pregnancy. She was even in the delivery room when Warren was born.) I skimmed the post without diving into to much detail. I saw ears, I saw hands, I saw feet and I was IN LOVE. I had not seen his face, but I just knew that no matter what he looked like, I had to pursue this situation right away. Eric was still asleep, so I took a leap of faith and sent our information. I hesitated and thought “Maybe I should talk to Eric first?” I am glad I did not because I was the very first family to submit their information to Lindsay, Warren’s first Mother’s Case Manager. I sat there and I stared at the screen hoping for a response. I kept refreshing and biting my nails.
While I waited I read deeper into Baby Z’s story. I typed Hypoplastic Corpus Callosum into google and began to read. As I began to understand Baby Z’s diagnosis my heart felt at peace. Nothing about what I read turned me away. I knew that there would be challenges ahead of us, and Eric and I knew we could handle it. We knew that we could have all of the diagnosis now, but we won’t know what Baby Z really needs until he begins to grow.
I refreshed my screen again and there it was, the email from Lindsay! We corresponded back and forth. I thumbed through Baby Z’s medical records. I was completely confused! I started to chat with Eric about Baby Z, and he also felt comfortable moving forward.
You see, just 48 hours prior we were approached by another situation. We put our profile in, but something did not feel right. Eric was not 100% sure, I was nervous, we just were not sure we were this babies forever family. He was a baby boy in California who was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome.
Eric and I discussed in depth about this syndrome and really did some soul searching. We wanted to adopt a baby so bad we ignored what our gut was telling us! Something pulled at us and it just did not feel right. This baby was not ours. The extent of his genetic disorder far exceeded what Eric and I felt confident with. We were open to special needs, but we were not sure how far we could go. We were not sure how severe. Among the disorders that Eric and I have researched and considered, this by far was the most difficult for us to wrap our minds around. The main concern and what really frightened us was the in ability to feel satiated. We would have to monitor every thing our child placed into his mouth for most of his life. To have to tell a child that they cannot eat something like a cup cake, or ice cream at a birthday party really tore my heart up. I was not sure I could handle something like that. But we wanted a baby so bad we were willing to ignore this unsettling feeling. We placed our profile with the family and they showed interest in our family. They began asking questions and it seemed as though they were on track to choosing our family.
I saw Lindsay’s article about Baby Z right before we would have been selected for the Baby in California. When we read about Baby Z our hearts felt like we were headed in the right direction. We felt confident and able to be the best family for Baby Z. I felt terrible for moving on from the situation in California, but looking back now, it would have done everyone a disservice if we were to adopt him. After doing more research it became very clear that this baby needed a family that had experience with this genetic abnormality. I am glad we made the decision that we did, because the family in California decided to parent him!
Eric and I waited patiently for more correspondence from Lindsay while at Scarlett’s soccer practice. We started to discuss name options, and we started to feel excited. I told Eric that I was nervous to get my hopes up but then this came across my email:
“Mama J gave me the honor of picking her baby’s family and I am so drawn to you. I’ll do whatever I can to help as you sort through” – Lindsay
I looked at Eric and said “I think this is our son! I think this might actually happen.” I emailed Lindsay back: “Yes let’s move forward. Please send me what we need. Can you also share what finalization fees usually look like?” and just like that we were matched with Baby Z. This was June 2nd and we were to meet Baby Z on June 5th in North Carolina. He was waiting for us in the NICU! Lindsay and I hopped on the phone together and we chatted about the details of Baby Z’s situation.
We were the 4th family involved in Baby Z’s life. There had been 3 other families who were matched with Baby Z”and after a few day’s with him in the NICU or time spent doing soul searching and research, they changed their minds. At first I thought how terrible, poor Baby Z! but then I thought about the situation from California, and how that could have been Eric and I changing our minds because something did not feel right. These families did the right thing. If you are at all doubting the decision you made in regards to adopting a child, you should always trust your gut! This is a child, this is a human being, this is someones life, and if you are not ready… it is better that you say so right away. I respect these families for making the decision that they did! It takes a family who has an open heart and the lifestyle appropriate for a child with special needs. Not everyone is ready for that. Adopting a child has its own challenges, adopting one with special needs, that changes everything.
Have no fear, Baby Z was not abandoned or left in the NICU alone! He had some really amazing angels in place who visited him in shifts daily! Lindsay and her friends Allison and Dana took turns spending time with Baby Z in the hospital. He was loved on and advocated for. I am so thankful that he had such incredible Women in his life from the get go. Baby Z had always been loved on!
After Lindsay and I made it official, Eric and I sat down to iron out the details and get our family ready to head to North Carolina to be with our boy. But first it was time to give Baby Z his forever name! This special boy deserved a powerful name with a lot of meaning! We loved the name Lindsay had given him (Baby Z had been short for Ezekiel in the Bible), but we were excited to honor Eric’s uncle Warren by naming Baby Z, Warren Michael Miron.
Eric’s uncle Warren was 22 years old when he was killed in a moter-cycle accident. This happened many years ago, but the memory is still painful for those who loved him. Whenever we watched Eric’s Mother talk about Warren we knew that he was special and loved. A little fighter like Baby Z deserved that name with so much history and meaning behind it! So Baby Z became Baby Warren.
We notified our family, got the house ready, packed and by Sunday we were on the road en route to Baby Warren. Baby boy… HERE WE COME!
It is speculated that my sweet boy has a missing Corpus Callosum. With this abnormality it is common to have a misshapen or deformed larynx. Warren has struggled with aspirating when feeding from a bottle. In order to maintain his health and avoid pneumonia we are under Doctors orders to use his G TUBE!
So here we are rocking out our new normal! At first I was afraid it would be to difficult but so far it has been a breeze and we are doing great!
If you do not believe in angel’s already, this might change your mind.
Some of you are probably wondering where I am at and what and I doing here?
In order to adopt a child from a different State you have to recieve approval from what is called ICPC- The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
Basically North Carolina and Michigan have to both agree to Warren leaving North Carolina and entering Michigan. This is a standard procedure for anyone adopting a child from a different State. If adoption was not already very expensive most are hit with big hotel/ housing cost when waiting out the ICPC process! Eric and I had to really budget and save in order to make this adoption work in our lives (especially after the cost of our two losses in the hospital). Adopting was a huge priority for us, so we made it happen, however it was very challenging.
To be honest we were afraid that we would have to wait a bit to proceed with adopting after having lost $7,000 to the not so awesome adoption Facilitator that will remain un named (if you want to know so you can avoid making a huge mistake like we made please just private message me). When the Baby Z situation came to our attention all of the legal fees JUST met our allotted budget for adoption. If we would have had to pay for a hotel for 2-3 weeks we would have not been able to move forward with Warren! We would have had to hold off. We knew that if we absolutely had to pay for a hotel we could scrape the money together … but it would have been a challenge.
The beautiful Goddess of a Mother that is standing in the middle of us Mommies is Lindsay Chole Smith. Lindsay is the Case Manager with Colores Adoptions, the agency that was working with Warren’s Birth Mom. Without hesitation (once we were the selected family) Lindsay offered us her guest bedroom to stay in while we visit Warren in the NICU and wait out ICPC. Oh and BTW she also let us use her truck in order to get around town! OH AND she has been helping me manage taking care of Warren without Eric. Most importantly while Warren sat in the NICU and waited for his forever family to find him, Lindsay sat with him every day for 4 weeks! EVER DANG DAY she drove all the way to Levine Children’s hospital to be with our precious Warren so that he was not alone.
She and her Husband have been so welcoming and have graciously welcomed us into their family!
This type of support does not happen in every situation, in fact its pretty un heard of! That is why she is such a gem and we are so grateful for her support and generosity.
If you want to follow a kick butt Mom of 4 amazing children (get this… 3 are adopted and 1 is a miracle of a kid who is doing things no one thought he could do!) go to
I could not be more grateful and blessed to have Lindsay in our lives. She will forever be Tia Lindsay to our beloved children. She has also inspired me on so many levels! #MOMGOALS!