Several months back I was approached by one of the local high schools; I was asked if I would share my life experiences to some students for a child development class. My first thought was they have no idea what they were in for then next was how honor I was to be asked.
Many of us whether we have homegrown, foster, kinship or adopted children, we, parents, are all special. We have been entrusted with precious cargo and for that it is such a blessing. However, my life was just getting to be shared with approximately sixty young adults, though some were going near the next chapter in their reality of life, Graduation, College, Leaving the Nest of Parents. The chapter of many but life of starting to begin without the umbrella of parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles or guardians. So much can happen.
Since being a Foster/Adopt parent my eyes have been opened more than once. I have a saying nothing surprises me anymore but then I am shocked when something major does. Interesting life's little curve balls but they are there so when I was asked to be entrusted with high school students for approximately an hour and half of their precious time I became a little nervous. Tough crowd more so than my Little's. Especially in a Big not so Big Community - one that somehow everyone is connected to someone.
For the weeks approaching my speaking date, I thought about what I would talk about and what I could not talk about. Making sure not to break any confidentiality of the sorts. Those who know me I do not hold back, I do not do drama, do not beat around the bush, pretty of matter of fact and when it all comes down to it, Blunt, very Blunt! Thinking of all of that I did not want to bore anyone but if in the end if I am not true to who I am then nothing else matters boring or not.
Finally, I received the call. Not one date to speak, two dates are on the calendar now the stakes were high and the pressure was on. For me the nerves began to set in along with excitement to get the time to share in these moments. The day arrived, as I dressed the Little's, I also asked my twenty year old daughter to join me. She had taken this journey right along with me and was a wealth of knowledge. Plus not so sure how the Little's were going to do with strangers overseeing them while I did the speaking so familiar face would not hurt as well.
We were off like a heard of turtles, slow but off, since my car keys had seem to disappear right before we were set leave. This is one of the instances that happens often to due one Little's obsession with things that rattle. Nevertheless, the spare worked just fine and we made it. Arrived, Little's, three in the wagon, one in the pack, off trekking through the school campus, eyes gazing and knowing in my mind the outline of subjects to speak of; effects of drugs, foster/adoption process pertaining to our situation, my continued relationship with the birth families, any sacrifices we have made and overall our day to day crazy schedule.
On both days, we were graciously greeted by a room full of young ladies and gentlemen. Patiently waiting to see what I was going to say. As I stated before the pressure was high. Young adults are not an easy speaking crowd. However, I do have to say, in the very short period of an hour and half, I spoke about the topics at hand, shared about our family, multi-tasked with my Little's and was happy as many questions were asked but the real happiness came about two weeks later when I received handwritten thank you notes from both classes. At any rate to be asked to share our story was an honor. I also believe anyone can say thank you by just writing "thank you" on the note but when someone takes the time to write more than those two words it definitely says something. Since, receiving those notes, I have re-read them several times as there are comments as to "how my speaking blessed someone and changed their view on special needs", "how I inspired someone", "how someone admired my strength", "how my speaking help someone choose their path into social work" or "my speaking was a real eye opener".
I have always said and continue to say, I am no different than the next person down the road who parents, our path that we are on just may be a little different. A roller coaster of the sort. It is hard enough to be parent of your homegrown children let alone be foster parents of someone else's children, be an advocate of special needs or needs of something daily or just PARENT. However, every child needs to be given that chance they are not asked for some of the circumstances they are brought into. I remind myself daily there is not any handbook, though many self help books and resources but no manual, so really everything is trial and error and with that said, in the mean time I will continue to do whatever it takes to Love, Advocate, Laugh, Cry and Smile with ALL with the Kiddos - Big and Small! I am forever grateful for the opportunity that I have been given to share my story, Thank you Mrs. M. and Her Classes! You Rock!!! GOD BLESS
"Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it." ~ Ralph Marston
Until Next Time...Make It A Great Day
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