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!
Baby M. holds a very special place in my heart. I will never forget the moment I laid eyes on him. He is and will always be one of the most beautiful little creatures I have ever seen. Baby M. also remains one of the most heart breaking experiences of my life.
I have to call him Baby M because of the sensitivity of his case. He is now considered a “Warden of the State” So I am unable to use his name. In February Eric and I began our adoption journey. We had just put the wheels in motion for our Home Study and started to work with a few agencies (and the not so honest Facilitator I had mentioned in my last blog post). We were spending some much needed time in Arizona with Family. This was one month after I had lost William to a cord accident and delivered him at 20 weeks gestation. The hormones were through the roof! I was pumping 5 times a day working very hard to store as much Breast milk as I could because I wanted to give this milk to the baby that we adopt. If you have ever lost a baby than you would also know that pumping after a loss is very therapeutic and gives the grieving Mother something to hold on to. It gives the grieving Mother some control over the world around her.
At the time I thought I was only pumping my breast milk for our future baby, but I was more so pumping to maintain my sanity. I would pump and pray. I would pump and envision my little baby that I would soon have through adoption. I would imagine my baby boys playing in heaven with Jesus. By the end of February I had an entire freezer full of pumped breast milk. It got to the point that I would just sit and cry while pumping. I felt so emotional and so broken. How could I be at this place AGAIN. Not just 7 months prior I sat in my bed room in our home doing the same thing after losing our baby Jack at 32 weeks. I would sit and cry, pump and look at photos of Jack. As some time has passed since those days I have come to realize I was acting out of complete intuition, hormones, and survival. Just like child birth, it was almost animalistic. I just did it without putting much thought into it!
I remember the day I saw his eyes. Baby M. looking right back at me with the biggest brightest baby blues! My now friend Melissa had reached out to me to share Baby M’s incredible story. In a nutshell Baby M’s mother had given birth to him in a circle K parking lot. She was high on various drugs and her baby was literally laying in her under wear when she was picked up by the paramedics. She literally lived in a dirt lot behind the church she attended. Baby M tested positive for Meth and Heroine. He went right into detox and withdraw from these narcotics. He started his life in a very painful and tragic way. After a few days postpartum Baby M’s mother left him in the hospital and she returned to the streets to continue her lifestyle as a drug abusing criminal and most tragically a lost and broke soul. Baby M. was left to go through the most painful moments of his life and his very first days on this planet ALONE. Fortunately Baby M’s mother had enough where withal to leave a note saying that she wanted her pastor from her church to be the temporary care giver for Baby M.
This miraculous and loving Pastor and his Wife very quickly became Baby M’s hope. Without much hesitation these wonderful people took Baby M. home and cared and loved him as if he were their own. It became apparent to the Pastor and his wife that Baby M’s Mother was not coming back any time soon. They began researching opportunities for possible adoption. They knew that the best opportunity for Baby M. was a home with a growing family. The Pastor and his wife needed to find Baby M’s mother as they needed her to sign off on various documents to give them custody. She was finally arrested after Baby M. was about 3-4 weeks old for burglary. She was very quickly released giving no one the opportunity to sit down with her and make a solid adoption plan for Baby M.
It was a shot in the dark. It was an impossible miracle lead by a place of love and hope. My friend shared with me that this Baby might need a family and we came to mind for her. We were elated and honored to learn about this little miracle baby. He had fought through so much in his short little life and has already inspired so many people. Just like me, he too experienced loss, and heart ache. We both had lost something very important to us. He lost his Mother and I lost my son. I felt an immediate connection to Baby M’s story and life and I absolutely fell in love with his perfect little face. Something grabbed a hold of me tightly and it begged me to not let this go. I knew that Baby M would be a shot in the dark. There were no guarantees and this would take a miracle! Baby M’s mother would need to be sober and willing to create an adoption plan. When we were first notified about Baby M. his Mother had been missing again and likely back to being on the streets.
We took a leap of faith and hoped that this situation might be the answer to our prayers. Perhaps we were Baby M’s forever family? My heart said yes, my mind said… not a chance. We asked our friend to set up a day to meet with the Pastor so that we could talk about Baby M’s future and to see if it would be at all possible to adopt him. He so graciously met with our little family and I poured my heart out. I explained the loss I had been through and how I wanted to badly to give that love to Baby M. I wanted Baby M. to feel the love that I had for Jack and William. I needed somewhere to Chanel that love and Baby M. seemed like the person most deserving. The Pastor and my little family hit it off! Without thinking it through and acting completely from my heart I asked to meet Baby M. I had no idea why. I knew that this could lead to tremendous heart ache but every fiber in my body said that I had to at least meet this little miracle.
The Pastor kindly agreed. I am certain he knew what sort of pain this could cause but he could also see how serious Eric and I were about potentially adopting Baby M. We rushed to a grocery store and picked up a few gifts for Baby M. The next day we met him! When he was placed in my arms my heart was so broken for this tiny human. I think about the love I have poured into Scarlett and how this baby deserves that type of love from a Mother. He was also just so completely beautiful. My heart melted as I held Baby M. and fed him his bottle.We also learned his birth Mothers incredibly heart breaking story. She was attending college and running track. She injured her back and was put on prescription pain medication. Soon the medication became to hard to obtain. Her then boyfriend introduced her to heroine because it was an easier to obtain option and a heck of a lot cheaper. My heart broke for this Woman and for this sweet baby.
We left that meeting hopeful, we left that meeting thinking… maybe we just met our baby? We were in the right place at the right time, I mean what were the chances that we just so happened to have been visiting Arizona at that time. I had lost William right around when Baby M. was born. While driving to meet Baby M. there was a rainbow in the sky following our car! I prayed and I prayed that this would be our baby boy.
We were warned that this was going to be a long and hard road. Once meeting Baby M. we were in. When I got into the car after meeting Baby M. I looked at Eric with tears in my eyes and Eric said “we are going to do what we can for him.” Once we returned home from our trip to Arizona we began aggressively finishing up our home study and we began reaching out to various attorney’s to seek legal advice and see if this adoption could really happen? We were completely lost and had no idea if this was going to be possible. Just when we found some great news, even worse news was presented to us. It became more and more impossible. Moments of hope were torn apart within days. This was one of the most intense emotional roller coasters of my life. There were nights that I cried myself to sleep thinking about this baby. I was in love and I couldn’t figure out why? This was a baby, just like any other baby… why did I feel so much love and connection to him. It was really bizarre, but I just kept following my heart.
One thousand tears later and thousands spent in legal advice ultimately Baby M. was never to be our son. We soon learned that because the Birth Mother was high during the pregnancy, and the baby tested positive for narcotics Baby M. became a Warden of the state. In conclusion Baby M. was to either stay with the Pastor (which was a miracle that the State allowed this) or go into Foster Care. Because the Birth Mom had such an intense criminal background and was not considered of sound mind during the times that she needed to be she was no longer able to make an adoption plan. According to the State the Birth Mother wanted the Baby to be cared for by the Pastor and made no efforts toward an adoption plan. We came to the realization after months of guessing that Baby M. would be next to impossible to adopt since we are not residents of Arizona.
Why was this so hard to swallow? We had turned away several other adoption situations because we were committed to adopting Baby M. We waited a few months to come to the painful conclusion that we needed to move on. This hurt terribly because it is not like the baby is no longer alive. He is not alive in my life… but he is still alive and will never be ours. I had become so attached to the idea of him, and I became so dedicated that I acted on emotions and listened to my heart more than I listened to my mind.
There were many lessons that I learned from the Baby M. situation.
- I could in fat love someone else’s biological child. I could love a baby that was not biologically mine. This was something I pondered and worried about when deciding to adopt.
- Never meet a baby before it is even a possibility to adopt them.
- Gaurd your heart. Expect several situations to not workout for you before you find “The one”.
Without Baby M. there might not have been Baby Warren in our life. Baby M gave me the push and motivation to comlete our home study very quickly. We had started the process in February and were Home Study approved by April. The Baby Warren situation came to be at the end of May. If we had not rushed to get our home study done in order to adopt Baby M. we would not have been home study read and ready to travel for Baby Warren. My love for Baby M. will always be there. He holds a very special place in my heart. Loving the idea of him helped me to heal during the days after I had lost my third baby. My love for Baby M. gave me the confidence that I was ready to adopt, and that I was doing it for the right reasons. Baby M. showed me that I am capable of such incredible unconditional love. I knew I was capable for that love with my sweet biological daughter Scarlett, but could I be capable of that for another baby birthed by someone else?
The answer is yes.
Baby M. I will always love you and I will always have gratitude for the brief period that you were in my life. My love for you was real. The tears I wept for you were real. The visions of you playing with Scarlett on our trampoline were real.
You and I were real.
Our adoption journey pt 2
Adoption seemed over whelming and impossible when we sat down to make our plan. We had no idea what we were doing. We trusted the opinion of everyone because we did not know what questions to ask or where to turn. Fortunately we aligned ourselves with an honest and fair Agency in Michigan. They helped us to navigate the overwhelming and exciting journey of adoption. This agency guided us to where we should look for a match and helped us with our home study. Unfortunately we ran into a situation where we were taken advantage of with a different “agency”.
We were approached by a representative from an “adoption agency” so the google search description said. We were given a ton of information right off the bat and trusted what we were doing. After talking with several people about adoption we eventually realized this company was not an agency, but rather a “facilitator”. The only thing a facilitator does is match you with a baby and help you create your look- book to be presented to birth Mothers. The entire time that we worked with this facilitator we were under the impression that they were an adoption agency and the money that we were paying to them would cover the entire adoption and all fees included. We were quoted $15,000 total and given then opportunity to pay in installments. We paid 7 installments before we realized that they were not an agency and we were actually paying them a fee to find a match for us and not to actually execute the adoption for us.
We paid $7,000 to this facilitator up front and were never shown one situation, there were 40 plus waiting families and just a handful of people had been matched in since the month we came on board in January. When we asked the Facilitator to refund us our money as we were not aware the difference between agency and facilitator. How were we to know? We were clueless about what we were doing. We read the contracts and asked questions but really was UN-sure of what questions to even ask. We asked for our $7,000 because we felt misguided and mislead. We stopped working with this facilitator before we were out a total of $15,000.
In conclusion not a dime was refunded to our family. The facilitator kept every penny we gave them. $7,000 into someones pocket and we were left with no match and back at ground zero. This was salt on our wounded journey as we were still paying for the hospital bills from when we had to deliver the boys. I spent many nights crying over the money that we were out. We felt so frustrated and defeated. $7,000 is a lot of money to part with and it set us back in our adoption journey. We had to pull back for a few more months and save back up enough funds to adopt. Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to know who this facilitator is. I will be glad to share so that you can avoid making the same mistake that we did.
When we came back on board with a fresh perspective and weariness we felt more confident and ready to pursue our dream. We refused to pay anyone up front before we were matched and we decided that we would exclusively adopt a special needs child because that is where our hearts were headed. After loosing a baby with special needs we felt very strongly about giving a home to a baby in real need. We had prepared our minds, and our lives for a special needs child! That is a massive decision and we decided it would be a blessing to continue forward with that plan.
We found that with every typical adoption there are somewhere around 50-100 plus families sending in their profiles to be viewed by the birth Mother. These “non special needs” adoptions were absolutely going to find a family. There was no question or doubt! There are so many waiting families for every typical infant adoption situation! We felt that if we were going to spend the money on adoption we want that money to go to the child who actually needs it. We wanted to give a child who was actually in need a chance at a beautiful life.
This may upset some readers, but we just had so much trouble finding a situation or agency that we felt comfortable and confident with. In many situation we felt like there were so many hands in the pot and it began to feel like we were part of a Baby auction. We literally felt like we were buying a baby. That was not our goal in the beginning. When we envisioned our adoption journey we envisioned a child in need and blessing that child with a hope and a future. Do not get me wrong. There were some adoption agencies and facilitators that we felt comfortable and confident with, but for the most part, it felt like we were participating in a giant Baby auction.
For a list of my favorite Adoption Agencies and Facilitators please email me at anitamiron@anitagetfit.
I will share with you who and what to avoid as well who and what to invest your time and money into.
– My biggest piece of advise do not pay astronomical amounts of money before being matched with a situation. Find facilitators and agencies who charge a moderate a reasonable fee up front and the remainder of their final fee’s after the adoption match.
– The only things you should be paying upfront: Your Home Study (make sure your agency does not hold ownership of your home study) and an application fee. An appropriate application fee is about $100-500.
– Make sure you are working with an agency that does not require you to work with them and only them. Other situations will present themselves and you do not want to be tied to one agency.
– Pay the application fee to multiple agencies and work with whoever matches you with the right situation.
– Be weary of potential scams. There are scammers who say they are pregnant in hopes that you will pay their financial needs and then they dissapear.
– Know that all aspects of adoption require giant leaps of faith. Nothing is guaranteed.
In conclusion we started on the wrong foot with our adoption journey! We got bruised big time. Once we were back in the swing of things we started to feel excited again! We made great connections all over social media!
I had no idea that around the corner was my third tragic loss…
to be continued.
Our adoption journey PT 1
photo credit Allison Fowler
I woke up and looked at my clock. It was 3:30 am and my heart was beating out of my chest. I felt a swoosh of anxiety rush over my body. “What if it happens again? What if at my 20 week anatomy scan in 3 weeks the Doctor determines that my baby is dead?! I rolled out of bed and got on my knees and I prayed. I prayed that I would have peace in this pregnancy. I prayed that I would soon find my rhythm and make it through this pregnancy one day at a time. You see just a few short months prior I lost my baby boy Jack at 32 weeks gestation. As soon as I lost my sweet boy my world completely changed. What once seemed like the most incredible life became grim and negative. Everything seemed as though it was a little bit scarier. If I could lose a baby in the womb… what else could possibly happen to me? What could happen to my daughter? My husband. This loss put me in a state of panic and eventually perinatal depression.
For for the remainder of my third pregnancy I felt fear, anxiety, had trouble sleeping, and had panic attacks. The fear of losing another baby crippled me. We began trying to get pregnant 2 months after losing baby Jack. We just wanted to feel some hope on the horizon and we thought that another pregnancy would do just that! I mean, lightening never strikes the same place twice… or does it?
I spent every single day of my last pregnancy listening to the heart beat with my Doppler. I became obsessed with the Doppler and with Ultrasounds. We went about the pregnancy as if we never lost Jack months prior because we wanted to give this new baby everything he deserves!
On the day of my anatomy scan for Baby William (my last pregnancy) I felt enormous anxiety. At this point my physicians had suggested therapy and an antidepressant. I felt as though it was starting to kick in and I was starting to feel more in control of my anxiety. I laid down on the couch to have my daily doppler meeting with my baby. I put the doppler right on the spot that I normally find the heart beat. There was nothing. I moved the doppler around fiercely and frantically. Still nothing. I started to panic and within in minutes was on my knees crying. The anxiety flooded in. We had my anatomy scan in a few minutes so we would have confirmation, but I had a really good feeling that he was gone, just like I had with Jack. Mom’s intuition I guess!
“Anita I am so sorry, but William is gone.” The Doctor looked at me with tears in his eyes. He looked panicked, trying desperately to find out the answers and help me calm down. “Anita I am so sorry this happened to you. This should never happen to a Mother.” I looked at Eric and we were both sobbing. Eric leaned down and started to rub my hair as I cried out “NOOOOO, GOD PLEASE NOT AGAIN!!!” The entire floor of that office had to have heard me as I screamed and cried. “Anita we need to make a plan for delivery. What do you want to do?” I knew the drill already. Take the pill, lay in agony, deliver baby, hold said baby, and shrivel into a pit of darkness for several months. “Lets just get this over with.” I exclaimed. Eric and I got into the car and Eric drove directly to a gas station. He came out with a solemn look on his face. He got back in the car and handed me a pack of cigarettes and started the car. He knew exactly where my head was at. Some people grieve by laying around and crying, I grieve by sitting alone and smoking cigarettes, and NO I am not a smoker. I used to be, but I kicked it during one of my intense health make-overs!
Who gives a SHIT about health when two of your babies are gone. So I smoked and I cried and then proceeded to the hospital to deliver William. This would be the second still birth in 1 year. I laid lifeless on the bed and just sobbed. After 8 hours of contractions, I delivered William (I won’t go into gory details, but it was the most horrific thing I have ever witnessed.) As I started to compose myself after holding William I looked at Eric and I said “This is the year that we adopt, and I am pretty damn convinced we need to adopt a special needs child. We owe that honor to our Jack and William. We need to give all of this love we have mustered up in our bodies to someone who NEEDS IT. At first Eric was nervous about the idea, but as months progressed we got on the same page. It was time to find our baby boy.
To be continued.
The Ultimate Reset is bringing us closer together. I am not even joking! Here are the benefits of working towards the same fitness goals together:
1. You can cook and prep your meals together rather than alone.
2. If someone drops the ball on prepping meals, you can help by picking up the slack for them.
3. Um we get to laugh about the things we miss (foods and wine ;)) together.
4. We have felt brought together by a common goal.
5. We have more sex… yep I said it. We are feeling more energy and more up beat! We are more attracted to one another and we are more excited to yah know… do the things!
So another benefit of this whole Ultimate Reset experience… our marriage has only gotten better…
I love you babe! Eric Miron
The tunes were pumping, the sun was shining bright, I had a pretty awesome to do list in place, and I was ready to conquer the day… or was I? I quickly noticed that my favorite song was not igniting the same joy in my heart. I looked around out side and everything seemed to be a little bit gloomier. I felt a feeling of panic and fear rush over my body. I thought about my to do list and all of sudden it felt the the world was on my shoulders. I thought about the hours, the days and the months ahead of me and everything seemed… bleak. Nothing about the up coming dinner I was planning seemed to bring peace in my heart. Nothing about a peaceful evening on the couch with my husband sounded appealing. I wanted to pull the car to the side of the road and cry. What was going on?!
I knew it. I was depressed again. It hit me out of no where. Or did it? The signs were coming but I was trying my hardest to ignore every one of them. The signs looked like this:
- Trouble falling asleep
- Panic attacks out of no where
- Slowly becoming less excited about things that normally excited me.
- Feel nervous in the morning and relaxed later in the evening.
I could not believe I was here again. This would be my 3rd bout of depression in my life. My first happened when I graduated college and the stress of the world got to me. I thought for sure when I beat that I was free from it completely. I thought… this should be a fluke right? The second hit me in 2015 shortly after my Step Father passed away, we moved to Texas, my business got crazy busy, and my Mother moved in with us. That bout lasted 7 months until I was treated with anti depressants and therapy. I was free and clear of most symptoms by the time I was pregnant with my son. I felt 90% for the length of my pregnancy. But then I lost my son. The weeks after loosing him I experienced some slight panic here and there, and the normal feelings of sadness. But I was coping and felt balanced chemically.
After my first menstrual period after losing my son (he passed away at 32 weeks due to a chord accident) I realized Depression and Anxiety would be something that I would have to deal with for the rest of my life. This sucker was not going to just disappear. This was something I had to be on top of for the rest of my existence if I wanted to live a balanced life. I was devastated, heart broken, terrified. What if I feel this way forever? What if my life is stuck feeling this way! What if I never go on to enjoy my incredible family? What if I go on to live in a mental health facility just like my Father!!
Here is the difficult fact … my father and his siblings all struggle with mental illness. They all have had a variety of mental illnesses take over their life. I knew this, but I did not want to face it until I myself started to experience Depression. I began asking my cousins if they to had issues with Depression and come to find out… they to were dealing with this. That fear took over me for many weeks and I did not know how to cope. The “what ifs” of my world became to hard to bare. The uncertainties of my life and future became to hard to function around. I started to develop OCD symptoms and began ruminating about whether or not I would become like my Father.
Here is the deal. I know that this is a chemical in-balance. I know that it is not my fault. I know that I have a fabulous life, a life to be very proud of and grateful for… so these feelings are not real. These feelings are the power of Depression lying to me. As of last week I started to feel some relief of this most recent battle with Depression. Fortunately I knew right away that I needed help. I got in contact with my Doctors, my therapist and I let my family know that I was in deed struggling. I was given an adjustment in antidepressants, I was given more therapy sessions, and I began studying “The Depression Cure” by Stephen S. Ilardi.
I am a Blogger, Mom, Wife, Successful Entreprenuer …. and I also struggle with mental illness. I am real. This is real.
Why Do I share this with you?! Am I looking for a pity party?! Absolutely NOT! I am looking for the “Me too’s” out there! I am looking for other Women who are to afraid to get their Depression treated. I am looking for the people out there that have stigmatized Depression and Anxiety. I am looking for the people who believe that Depression is only for sad and miserable people who have terrible lives… BECAUSE I AM HERE TO TELL YOU THAT IS THE FURTHEST THING FROM THE TRUTH. I am looking for the people who think that their thoughts and fears are just life and not a chemical in-balance. I am here to tell you that millions of people struggle with Depression and 1 in 4 people in the United States will experience a bout of it in their life time. There are people who take their own lives because they have no idea how to escape the pain when there is help right around the corner.
I share this because if I can help one person out there see hope, and see a fighter, they to will fight for their lives. Depression steals your joy, ability to function, and often your life. I am the face of someone who has had Depression and refuses to let it take over my life. I am someone who is not willing to go down without a fight, and I want to take you with me! So if you or someone you know battles with this illness… know that you are or they are not alone. Depression will lie to you and tell you that no one knows what you are feeling. Depression will lie to you and tell you that you will never get better, but here is the incredible thing about Depression… you can get better. There are hundreds of ways to improve in this illness. You just have to be willing to put in the work and dedication. I suggest the following:
- Immerse yourself in peer support. There are some really great groups on Facebook to be a part of.
- Read “The Depression Cure” by Stephen S. Ilardi
- See a Psychiatrist and do not be afraid of taking something for short period. Just to help you get back to you!
- See a Therapist weekly. Do not give up on attending your sessions. Just because you start to feel better does not mean you have to tools to make sure it does not come back.
- Go for long vigorous walks even when you feel terrible and do not want to. Force yourself to.
- Tell your family that you are sick. You need to be treated like someone with the flu. It is worse than the flu in my opinion so why not treat yourself like it? How do you treat yourself when you have the flu?
- Find something to do with your hands. Teach yourself to crochet, knit, cross stitch. Do something to stay out of bed and be productive.
- Do not make major life changes. Do not move, do not leave your spouse, do not leave your job. Chances are you are having feelings about these things … it could just be your chemical in balance causing you to not see the love and joy in those things. That is how depression works. It takes the peace and joy right out of things. Its not the things, its you… so give it time.
- I cannot stress #2 enough. Such a great book!
- I have to give credit to the medication that I take that has helped me and that is Lexapro. It is hard to admit that I take something for depression, but it is what it is. It has helped me get lifted off of the ground when things seem to tough.
Reach out to friends and family. You never know who in your life is going through what you are. Having peer support is so important. You never know who you might affect by simply sharing your pain and struggles. Do not be embarrassed or afraid. This is a real mental illness brought on by life stress that our bodies are not meant to handle. This does not make you weak, crazy, or bad… this makes you human. Everyone struggles with some sort of illness in their life… this just happens to be the one you struggle with and the beauty of life is that you are not alone in that struggle.