Peace & Love!!
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I recently came across the following article on my computer.  I must have saved it several years ago.  It resonates very deeply with me right now as I am going through some changes in my current relationship.  Although we aren't married (THANK GOD) it still applies.

The Role of the Man in the Family

According to Dr. Phil, if men want to be successful in their marriage and family life, they have to change and broaden their definition of what it means to be successful as a man. Being a good provider, protector, leader and teacher is a privilege that comes with responsibilities that many men aren't aware of.

A Provider

Most men believe that being a good provider means supporting a family financially. It means much more than that. A man should also contribute to the emotional, spiritual, physical and mental well-being of his family. In order to do this, he must recognize that there are other currencies, in addition to money, that need to be provided.

A Protector
This means more than beating up the guy next door if he insults your wife. It means protecting her self-esteem and self-worth as well as your children's. It can also mean protecting your way of life and guarding against any threats to the things that you and your family value.

A Leader

Instead of waiting for your wife to take the initiative when you are having problems, take the lead. Get in the game and create what you want in your family instead of whining about your family situation. Marriage is not a 50/50 partnership. It's a 100/100 partnership. That means you give 100 percent. And remember, you get what you give.

A Teacher

What are you teaching those around you — especially your children — with your behavior? It's important to provide a good example for your children, loved ones and community with both words and deeds. Set high standards and teach by doing. 

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Let's point by point analyze my current relationship, shall we?

1.  A Provider ~ well............not so much.  He actually doesn't contribute to the household monetarily.  Our deal was for him to take care of the house and lawn, be around for the kids (who are 12 & 16) and cook, clean, etc since I work full time.  

In the beginning, he did some cooking and cleaning.  Recently, its sporatic.  And he doesn't interact with the kids in a positive way at all unless forced.

2.  A Protector ~ he succeeds at this in the sense that I know we're safe with him at the house.  But only in that particular area.

3.  A Leader ~ he wants to be the leader.  He also wants everyone to respect him.  However, rather than earning it, he demands it.

4. A Teacher ~ he wants to also be a teacher but I'm not entirely certain I want my kids to learn what he has to share.
So here I am, at 40-something, ready to start over again.  Sigh.  But after a year and 1/2 with nothing really changing, what choice do I have?  

Tell me, what would you do?
Now that you're a "seasoned" parent, how do you respond to the young, non-parent who makes the comment "MY child will never.....(fill in the blank)"?

I've learned over the years that the best response is no response.  Those people will never fully understand until they have children of their own.  Even then, they still might not get it.

~ I'VE LEARNED that each child, while somewhat similar, can be extremely different from each of their siblings. What worked with one, may not - and probably WILL NOT - work with the others.  Take the time to find what works with each child.   You will make their (and your) life so much simpler.

For example, my oldest daughter could have cared less about "things".  She would not, no matter what I did, clean up her toys.  I could threaten to take them, ground her, etc.  What worked with her was having me bring a chair into her room, park my butt and point to each item and make her pick it up (or else I'd be in her room FOREVER).  

Her younger sister, however, would frantically run around picking up her toys at the meer mention of them being taken (because I actually emptied her room one time).  

~ I'VE LEARNED that kids are going to hurt your feelings.  They are going to say things when they're angry at you (which will be frequently) that sting.  DO NOT, under any circumstances, let that deter you.  You certainly have a right to let them know they hurt your feelings or that what they said was inappropriate, but don't gimp out or they'll keep doing it.

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~ I'VE LEARNED that its important to spend individual time with each child - even if its only a few times a year.  Take them to a movie or to lunch.  These will be the moments they will cherish - not a clean house.

~I'VE LEARNED that you need to accept your child for who they are - not who you wanted them to be.  This was difficult for my kids father and was ultimately what drove us apart.  

I know that when I first set eyes on my daughter after she was born, I never once thought "I hope you have your first child when you're 19".  Hell no......I was angry.  So I get it.  You have dreams for your kids; you want them to have a better life than you did and you don't understand why they can't just listen to you. 

Once I got over it and accepted my daughter for who she truly is rather than who I wanted her to be, I felt more at peace and so did she.  

The simple fact is, they're individuals and they're going to do and be what and who they want.  It's more important for me to have my daughter in my life than for me to be upset over something I can't change.  And by the way, who she is, is pretty great.  She may not be living the life I had envisioned for her, but she's happy, healthy and is a great mom and a contributing member of society - isn't that all we ultimately want?

~I'VE LEARNED that even when we think they don't hear us, they do.  They're not going to admit it - at least not until they have kids of their own (if you're lucky).  I still smile to myself when I hear my kids repeat something I've said that I SWEAR they completely ignored.  They're listening - trust me.
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Have a wonderful, family filled, fabulous weekend!  

If you are getting hit by the big snow storm, please stay safe and warm.

Peace and love!!
My boys a month or so after we brought them home.  This is one of my favorite photographs of them.  Aren't they beautiful?  <3

My heart is full having just read that Sandra Bullock adopted another child from foster care.  As an adoptive parent of two children who were in foster care, I can tell you there is no greater joy.  These boys - who were 2 and 6 when we adopted them - have been two of the biggest blessings of my life.

Unfortunately, not all adoptions turn out well.  There are many horror stories out there and trust me, I was worried.  

Our intent initially was to foster until we found a child, preferably a baby, to adopt.  Our first placement was a twelve year old girl who I will call "A".  Let me tell you sister, fostering a twelve year old girl is not for the faint of heart.  Fostering, in general, is not for the faint of heart.  It takes a very special person or couple to take in these children, most of them wounded and sad, and care for them like they are your own.  

I think some people also have the misbelief that foster and adoptive children should be grateful to be in a "good" home.  First of all, they're children.  Second of all, 98% of them have seen, felt and experienced things that would bring you to your knees.

Our foster daughter had been abused by her step-father and discarded by her mother when the court said this young girl could no longer live with her step-father.  A's mother had a choice to make and she choose the man over her flesh and blood.  I can't tell you the number of hours A spent sitting on my lap, rocking and sobbing that she didn't have a mother.  It was heart wrenching.  On top of that, there was substance abuse, physical abuse and God knows what else that she witnessed prior to coming to us.  She would make references to drugs and sex that I had never heard before.  

Even though we were able to get her settled into our home, she kept acting out in school and eventually had to go to a different school district, which meant she had to be moved to a new foster home.  At the time, my daughters were 11 and 13.  They couldn't understand why A acted out the way she did and why she had to leave.  My youngest daughter was heart broken when A left.  I was too.

So it was at that point we decided we would simply (ha ha) adopt rather than foster-to-adopt.  

After our experience with a pre-adolescent we decided we didn't want a child any older than 10.  We were willing to accept a sibling group but no more than two children.  Sounds simple enough - HA HA. 

Well, our county generally doesn't have young children who are adoptable so we kept getting calls for older children.  We kept saying no even as guilty as we felt about it (and it really sucked saying no).  Our caseworker sent our homestudy out to other agencies across the country and we were finally matched with two boys ages 2 and 6. Keep in mind that we were into this process by about 7 months.

We drove 6 hours to meet them.  I knew the instant I saw them that they were my children.  

You see, ever since giving birth to my second child, I'd felt like someone was still missing from our family.  I longed for another child.  I prayed for another child.  Almost daily...........I can't adequately explain the empty feeling I had where this child was supposed to be.  And then, after a 6 hour drive and laying eyes on my sons, the feeling left me.  Its never returned.

I'm not going to say its been sunshine and roses, because it has not.  Raising children, in general, is not.

The adoption process itself was long and stressful. The six year old had some behavioral issues.  The two year old spent the first week throwing up all over everything because he was so upset.  I have never in my life been vomited on that much. 

But here we are, 10 years later.  Two of the loves of my life - blessings, absolute blessings.  I wouldn't change a thing.  it was all worth it - the wait, the stress, the vomit - all of it.

Today I read that Sandra Bullock adopted another child from foster care.  KUDOS to her!!!  I got chills when I read the story.
I've attached the article for you below.

The lesson in all of this, for me, has been that the universe has a plan.  We fight it, try to manipulate it and ultimately relinquish ourselves to it.  I'm so thankful the universe sent me these boys.  

I hope the universe sends you what you're wishing for.  Have a blessed day my soul sisters!!!
The Thanksgiving dinner we had with our kids (all but 1) went well on Saturday.  In attendance were my four kids, two with spouses and my 3 grandkids and one of my boyfriends sons.  His younger son who is 17 really doesn't seem to want to interact with all of the other kids, even though one of my sons is almost the same age.   We actually have a hard time getting him to come to our house.  I have yet to figure out exactly why - could be because he's 17 and is doing his own thing or it could be that he's angry that his dad isn't with his mother.  Either way, he was missed.

This has been a difficult task, trying to integrate two families.  There were and occassionally still are, moments where I'm not so certain we're going to make it.  Our parenting styles are completely different.  I'm very passive - he's rather militant.  I like to discuss -  he likes to command.  I hug - he barks.  We both love these kids with all of our hearts though.

Over the past year, we've each learned from the other, been pissed at each other but have continued to stand side-by-side and parent our family.  The kids, for the  most part, haven't made it very easy.  My kids don't respond well to barking.  His kids don't like that my kids don't respond well to barking.  And so the story goes............BUT they're all starting to come around.  It just takes time, like all things.

I do have to say that this man has endured quite a bit of crap from my kids (both the grown ones and the 2 that live with us) and their father.  My boyfriend VERY VERY clearly loves me and them.  I'm not so sure I would have been able to tough it out like he has.  I would have run far, far away.

Today, as I sit and think about my blessings, I am so very thankful for these kids (grown, little, adopted, acquired, etc.) who make up our little blended, somewhat disfunctional family.  I love them all.  I can only hope that when they look back on these times, they remember how much we love them and that we did the best we could to give them a sense of family.  I can't imagine my life without them all in it.

Have a peaceful, family filled, wonderful Thanksgiving my soul sisters!!!

Peace and love!!!


Soul Sisters Unleashed