Adoption: Double-Edged Sword

For the most part, I’m a fan of adoption. I’m adopted. My brother is adopted. I have three cousins who are adopted. I have two cousins who have each adopted two children. And, as you know, I’ve adopted 16 times. Adoption is more a part of my understanding of how to make a family than any other method. As my family, we adopted some through the state foster-care system, some through private adoption, and some through agencies. The only type of adoption we have not experienced is international. Our children were all born in the US. However, one of my […]

Love the Babies

We have a new baby in our family.  Before you get too excited, you should know that it’s not my baby. This baby belongs to my daughter and her husband and is grandchild #10 for us – not counting fosters, steps, and those whose existence is unknown to me.  I know that sounds a little weird.  However, in our world, sometimes we have to accept the weird.  Let me explain how it works.  Many of our grown kids suffer with mental illness.  This is most likely the result of early trauma in their lives.  Some do not believe they have […]

Drag Show as Lifeline

I went to a drag show yesterday. So now, I know you’re asking how that’s possibly newsworthy. People go to drag shows all the time. And, I freely admit I’m one of those who goes fairly often. I love a good drag show. But, yesterday’s show was different. It started in the usual way. I arranged to meet several friends at a drag brunch in Hagerstown. Good food, good friends, a couple of drinks. You know, the usual. The restaurant arranged the seating so that many of us were at long tables. Our table had our group of four and […]

What’s Your Joyspring?

What brings you joy? I mean real joy. Is it an island vacation? What about the look in someone’s eyes? Having stability in your job? Your family? Your friends? A pet? What brings you joy? I have a friend who loves the beach. She and her family go year round. And when she talks about going, her face softens and her eyes light up. Every single time. It brings her joy. For some people, the holidays are a time of joy. But, for many, many others, it’s a time of stress and struggle. There are demands on our time, our […]

Wonder & Joy

The holiday season is under way and, once again, I’m completely overwhelmed with a sense of wonder and joy. As soon as lights start to appear on houses and streets, I am transported back to childhood. It was a time when anything could happen; miracles were expected; and love abounded. At least, that’s how I remember it. Having a small child in your home for the holidays helps bring this wonderment to life. We decorated a little early this year, at least it was early for our home. Thanksgiving weekend was spent putting up the trees. We have five. We […]


I think my favorite season is fall. The weather gets cooler. The outdoor chores wind down. The kids are back in their normal schedule. There are leaves to play in. This fall season even included a significant snowfall. All around it’s a great time of year. Cassa loves the snow. I don’t think she remembers much of it from last year. She just turned three last week, after all. But, when it snowed at our house, Cassa headed out, bundled up to look like the Michelin Man. She and one of our teen boys ran around, threw snowballs, built a […]


Let’s face it, Moms and Dads, we all get there once in a while, right? We try so hard to get it all done – work, family, volunteer activities – that we sometimes commit more hours that we can reasonably do. In addition, if you add in any sort of chronic health issue, that makes it even more complicated. The last two weeks have been tough for me. My work responsibilities suddenly increased. The family has been particularly needy. And, to top it all off, one of my grown daughters decided to attack me with gossip and didn’t believe me […]

Little People: Big Feelings

After more than 20 years of raising kids with traumatic backgrounds, I’ve discovered one very basic thing about myself. I’ve discovered that I am very quick to react to situations when I see my children being intentionally traumatized. For example, when it’s time for toddlers to get shots, we discuss it first. We have never physically punished our kids either. We just don’t see a need for it. Kids can learn without being hit. We don’t want them to hit, so why would we hit them. This month has been particularly challenging with Cassandra. She started preschool in September. The […]

Whatta Week

I’m having one of those weeks where I can’t seem to get anything done because a million emergencies get in the way. Of course, they’re not real emergencies to most people. They’re emergencies in the eyes of one or two people only. And, it’s wearing me out. I’m exhausted – both mentally and physically. For example, my dad owns a condo in Ocean City. This weekend was the fall condo meeting. He isn’t comfortable going on his own and I’m on the board of directors for the condo association. So, my dad, my son Alex, and I went to the […]

‘Please Just Be Patient With Me’

Many of my kids spent time in foster care. They were there, through no fault of their own. They were there because the adults in their lives failed to provide the safety and security they needed to thrive. Lots of folks think that providing foster kids with love, good food, and attention is more than enough to set those kids on the path to success. But, let me tell, that’s not usually enough. Kids that land in foster care are there because there were serious problems in the home. These aren’t kids whose parents were too busy to help them […]