So many people in my life remember where they were and/or what they were doing when they heard about the planes hitting the first World Trade Center tower.
I don’t remember, and sometimes that makes me feel like I’m somehow less than.
But I was only 8. I was in 3rd grade. I had no family in New York, or at the Pentagon. It had no direct impact on the safety of the people in my daily life.
Thousands of lives were lost.
People decided to stop for coffee, so they weren’t in the building when they usually would have been.
Parents stayed home because their child was sick.
Some slept through alarms and didn’t wake up until after the first plane hit.
Innocent people on planes that were hijacked lost their lives.
Flight attendants who should’ve been on the flight that hit the second tower weren’t because they’d worked an extra trip the day before.
Just because I was young and don’t have detailed memories of where I was when the news broke doesn’t mean I don’t know the gravity of that day and what it meant for us. A date that will live in infamy that showed us the brevity of life.
I know September 11th was a tragic day in our nation.
Kids lost parents.
Parents lost kids.
The military lost soldiers, sailors, marines, coast guardsmen, airmen.
Companies lost employees.
It changed a lot of things here in our country. And through the world.
Title: A Fatal Prospect Series: River Reapers MC #3 Author: Elizabeth Barone Genre: Romantic Suspense/Dark Romance Release Date: April 28, 2021
Our enemies of past and present are uniting to put us in our graves. Not even death would destroy our love, but death isn’t the only thing that’s fatal…
I’ve finally got Olivia, but she can’t give me the two things I want most: three words so I know I’m not in this alone, and a family so I can redeem all the horrible things I’ve done. My past is still chasing me, and the only way I can let it go is if I stop running and face it. I can’t allow the monster in my blood to take over, but it’s rising to the surface and I can’t fight it much longer.
After all I’ve been through, I’m never giving away my heart, even if my heart has other plans. War strikes before Cliff and I get a chance to figure it out. When a teen football player is unspeakably violated, only my club can avenge him. A rival motorcycle club from the past is also looking for revenge, just as I realize my true feelings for Cliff.
When someone betrays us, we’ll pay the ultimate price, in both blood and love…
A FATAL PROSPECT is the third book in the River Reapers MC series, a dark romance with a body count. Some content may be disturbing to some readers.
Elizabeth Barone writes dark biker romance with a body count and contemporary romance with badass belles because life isn’t just heavy or light, it’s both.
Before publishing her debut novel, she was a web designer trapped writing code instead of stories. It took a debilitating autoimmune disease to shove her toward the path she was always meant to be on.
Elizabeth has published over a dozen novels, and has so many ideas for more, she’ll be employed ’til she dies. She lives in Connecticut with her husband Mike and more coffee mugs than she’ll ever need.
I got off my monthly Bethany birthmom group call and took my coffee mug back downstairs. I had a piece of mail from BraveLove on the table, and dad asked what BraveLove is.
I didn’t know what to say. He’s never really been one to want to know about my adoption. So I said I wasn’t sure how to tell him cause it’s a difficult subject. It’s a birthmom education group.
There was a discussion about how he didn’t want to know anything about my adoption in the beginning. He admitted that was true. He was glad I didn’t have an abortion, but he was distressed I “gave it away”. I was somewhat offended and said “‘it’ is a girl”. I didn’t go into the whole “I didn’t give her away I placed her” correction, but maybe another day. Somewhere in the future.
I figure since we’d already blown open the adoption doors, I told him I would be getting off early next Friday and getting in a Zoom with my adoption agency to speak to couples who are hoping to be approved to adopt.
He then blew my mind and said he would like to meet her one day. So I shared her name and just a few pictures – the first was from our visit last month and the first words he said were “she doesn’t look like you.” (I wasn’t even sure what to say to that. Mom said she sees more of David in her as she grows up.) Dad asked how often I see her, and where they live, and if I buy her birthday/Christmas presents. So he can help me buy the presents.
Then mom said that adoptive dad is a pastor. I said he used to be at a church up here on 123 but now they’re building their own church down there. They bought the land during lockdown and should be breaking ground soon for the building.
Dad asked me if I talk to them a lot after I shared about their church. Well, I follow their church’s Instagram account.. That didn’t answer his question. We email every now and then.
I’m in total shock and awe…
I spent most of 2019 (subconsciously) letting go of the expectation he’d come around, and had finally accepted that he wouldn’t be involved in her life. 14 months later he drops this information on me. I had fully released those expectations, so now he’s exceeded anything I had.
It’s a lot to take in.
It’s a MAJOR thing to process.
It means that things aren’t the same anymore.
I have to adjust to a whole new reality.
I used to stop talking about adoption-related things if he was around. I would out my phone down or change apps if I had a picture of her up on the screen and he walked by. These are behaviors that have been ingrained for six and a half years. Now they’re not really necessary. And I don’t know what to think, or what to feel, or what to do.
I mean, you could have knocked me over with a feather.
Okay y’all, I know I’ve been absent for like two and a half months. I wish I had an explanation, but there is just no reason for it. At least for August and the first half of September…
I’m going to try to give you the short~ish version of a car saga that lasted for a month…
I went out of state to visit a friend the weekend of 9/11. I left to come home and they called me half an hour into my drive because I’d forgotten my pillow, so I turned around and went back. I left again, and three miles away my car engine died at a red light. Like, it just stopped. Absolutely zero warning at all.
I called my friend, they came with their significant other and my car got pushed to the side of the road. Their mechanic looked at my car the next day, and said that my timing belt had gone and lead to substantial engine damage. I needed a new engine, and that wasn’t worth it for my car.
So I wound up staying there looking online at different vehicles and purchasing one to be able to drive home. I bought a car from my friend’s mechanic, which I was told was fine. I got it home, and finally got it to my mechanic a week later. At that point I found out that it was far from fine…
That car needed more work that it was worth: Axle boots flinging grease. Rack and pinion leaking power steering fluid, 21 different codes – transmission, engine, and more…
My mechanic didn’t even finish a post-purchase inspection – tires and brakes didn’t get checked out – because they found too much work that it didn’t make sense to continue.
Four days after my mechanic told me the disaster of a car I’d gotten myself into, I drove it all the way back to the mechanic in Pennsylvania and got a full refund. When I pulled in and the mechanic saw me he said, “You made it. I’m so proud of you.” I wanted to punch the guy in his face. He had, and probably still has, no idea what it actually took for me to drive that car all the way back there.
He tried to start explaining engine modules and computer modules to me. I told him I didn’t come for explanations. He tried again. I didn’t get mean or raise my voice, but I put my foot down that time, “I didn’t come here for explanations. I came to return the car and get my refund. That’s done, so we’re through.” I gave him the key, he confirmed that the title had been brought back, and I walked away. I was more than ready to get out of there and be done with that whole ugly ordeal.
So after I came home I started looking at vehicles online at dealerships because every individual selling a car I liked would refuse to allow it to be taken to my mechanic. It was always “Sure, you can bring your mechanic with you.” I wanted to argue that they’re idiotic if they think life works that way, that the car would have to go to my mechanic’s shop. But that just wasn’t worth it… So even though it could’ve been a good car, I walked away because I knew I would have better luck with being able to take a vehicle from a dealership to my mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection.
Which is what happened.
I went to a dealership about 20 miles from my house, looked at three vehicles, test drove two of them, and decided which one would go to my mechanic.
The car needed new tires, an engine air filter, and a cabin air filter. Nothing to be afraid of or not buy the car because of. So I bought the car.
The engine air filter has already been replaced – it was an inexpensive quick couple of minutes. So with my next paycheck I’ll probably do the cabin air filter; then do the tires in December – suggested to be done before the first of the year.
Anyway, that car saga lasted from my car dying on September 13 until I bought a “new” car from a dealership on October 13. It was a miserable month, but it’s over now. And I have a car that I don’t need to be worried about.
But in all of this, it’s possible that I may have lost a friend… Because it’s their mechanic that the piece of junk car came from.
It’s their mechanic who rushed to have a car in my budget before I had to leave, despite the fact that they didn’t think they could do it.
It’s their mechanic who didn’t believe me when I said the car may need a new transmission – which was confirmed when my mechanic’s shop took their time to inspect it and told me the truth about it.
It’s their mechanic who couldn’t seem to actually respect a woman who has knowledge about cars and won’t allow herself to be talked down to.
It’s their mechanic who completely lost my trust – not that they ever really had it to begin with – because this experience showed me that I have zero reason to believe anything they say.
Well, it’s August now – and somehow I made it through July…
Walking out of July I felt broken, and still do to a degree, but also somehow stronger than I was before. I know there are always struggles, but there are always good things too. It’s so much easier to get caught up in the struggles when they’re hitting one after another.
I’ve dealt with a lot those thirty-one days. My daughter’s birthday. Seeing her and J&J for our visit. My church regathering in the building. Her placement anniversary. Three different dogsitting jobs with no more than 6 nights at home in between.
I planned a beach trip with a girlfriend. I got a raise at work. Adoptive parents posted pictures on her birthday. She was willing to take pictures with us. My granddad gave me a new computer.
There’s no “right” way to deal with this stuff. No one can tell you what’s for sure going to work for you. They can share what they did, but that doesn’t mean that things will look the same for you.
There are friends who played parts in helping me through the month, and I am so grateful for them. T is an adoptive mama from the same agency who happens to live near me – I’ll save our wild connections for another post. M is another adoptive mama that I’m getting to know. S is yet another adoptive mama in my corner, who I’ve been following since around the time of her second disruption. K is a hopeful mama who I’ve been talking to for over a year now. And of course A and S and E (all birthmamas) FaceTimed me on my daughter’s birthday and sang happy birthday.
I love these women so much 🥰 and I really hope they know that 🥰
I’ve spent so many nights alone in July. So many nights feeling numb. So many nights wanting to just stop the feelings. So many nights just lost in my head and unable to get back into the present.
It was just so much happening at once and not enough time to process it.
I can’t believe my visit with my daughter on the 11th has already come and gone. I don’t know how it’s possible. Those two and a half hours went so fast. It’s like that time was just gone in the blink of an eye.
She didn’t want anything to do with us on the “hike”, but then clung to us during lunch and at the playground. She would shy away from birthdad’s camera like the plague, but she constantly wanted me to take pictures of her with my phone. And I got some really good ones (see gallery).
She’s always pretty quiet in the beginning, but this seemed more than normal. I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy. Maybe it’s hard to tell when it’s been six months.
I had been talking to some friends in the adoption community a couple weeks earlier, and I mentioned out I’d been upset over feeling like I had no say in deciding what my daughter would call me and I didn’t like it. Looking back when talking with an adoptive mama on Instagram, I got caught up in the discussion and was overthinking our relationship. When it comes down to it, my daughter knows I’m birthmom and that’s what’s important. When she grows up, she can decide for herself what she wants to call me.
Nothing much has really happened between then and now. I was dogsitting the whole time.
Placement anniversary was this past Saturday though. I posted something on my Instagram stories about the day.
Watching birthdad hand her to adoptive dad with those words was heartwrenching. I mean, those words are so just so so heavy. And it’s been seared into my memory.
I grew up in church. I went every Sunday. My grandparents took me.
My sister was baptized before I was. When I was 9 I followed in her footsteps and was baptized. Looking back, I don’t know that I really understood what the decision to do that made. I mean, I’m sure that I understood on some surface level at a child’s understanding, but I don’t think I fully grasped what it meant to ask Jesus into my life and accept him as my savior. I think I wound up changing churches not long after that happened. About seven years later I really started thinking about wanting to be baptized again. I never really talked about it with anyone because it was made into such a big deal and honestly couldn’t fathom trying to explain why I felt the need to do it again. I was at that second church for nearly 17 years – the last 10 were spent staying silent about wanting to be baptized again.
I don’t think there’s a short way to summarize why I’m sitting here talking about my faith and the church I’m at. It’s a “God thing” that I’m in the place that I am now. I feel so weird saying it, but my adoption – my daughter’s adoptive parents indirectly – played a role in it too. I remember finding their church online, watching some of the messages that adoptive dad had given, and feeling like I wanted to find somewhere like that for myself. Which led to me searching for a new church…
End of May 2019 I really started looking at different churches. I went to multiple churches, trying to find the right fit for me. It was not as long of a process as I thought it would’ve been. It only took me about six weeks. Sometimes I knew right when I walked into the church that it wasn’t the right place for me.
I remember walking into one church, a place that some friends of mine go, and thinking that it was too commercial. They had fountain drink machines in the atrium… I’m sorry, but if you think that’s necessary in your church then I questions what the purpose of your church is…
The church I decided to join was actually the very first church I went to when church shopping. Expectation Church. I was looking for a church that had more a contemporary worship service. I needed somewhere that had a larger group of people my own age. I craved a place that felt like home to me, rather than somewhere I had tried to “make” home for too long.
I started attending during their transition summer, between leaving the old building and moving into the new building, when they were meeting at the university. That’s when I met S+N, who lead the young adult eGroup, and really started meeting people my age. I kept coming back week after week. Then around the middle of September, I officially joined the church. When I did that, I also spoke with one of the pastors about wanting to be baptized again and explained my reasoning for it. He told me that he’d done it as well when he was growing up, so he saw absolutely no issue with my doing it. So I chose a date in November – three days before my birthday, and it wound up being the week before the church’s grand opening for the new building.
In October I started volunteering in eKids Jr (our preschool department) and met the pregnancy counselor I had worked with when I placed my daughter in 2014; however, I had realized she and I attended the same church in August. Months later, I can’t remember exactly when, I met other people from my adoption journey – the interim couple who had my daughter between hospital discharge and placement.
Then in January I started serving on the Production team. So I’m with a bunch of other people on all our tech stuff to make the worship experience look nice and run smoothly when we stream online.
After being in quarantine and watching church from home for just shy of 4 months, I’ve realized just how angry I’ve been with God. And the concept of church. Yes, a fairly big piece of that anger is from being a birthmom, but that doesn’t make it any less valid.
I’ve been struggling in trying to find ways to grow in my faith. I struggle with sitting down to read the bible. I purchased a bible study that goes through the whole thing, but I’m struggling to even get through more than the first three chapters of the first book. It’s a lot more difficult that I thought it would be.
I’ve watched so many videos on YouTube of people (okay, women) who are talking about their bible studies and morning devotions and prayer journals, and everything looks so idyllic. I know it takes discipline to create/develop this routine and stick with it. I just feel like things never worked for me because I don’t have the “right” things.
Growing up, church/faith wasn’t really a present topic or thing at home. I can’t recall ever really seeing my parents inside a church if it wasn’t for a performance or something big like that.
Stepping away from the church I’d been at for sixteen years took a long time to actually happen. Probably started thinking about it two or three years before I did anything about it. I was afraid of how people would react if I left the church. I’d been here so long and never voiced a desire to leave to anyone other than my mom. I’m an Enneagram 4, but I was afraid of leaving what was “comfortable” to do what was right for me.
Yes, it was worth it when I did leave somewhere I stayed out of habit. But that didn’t make it any less difficult.
I still feel awkward talking about living at home with my parents and not going to the same church, but a lot of people have made the comment that at least I’m still going to church. And while I understand where they’re coming from, it still hurts a little (and is a little offensive) that they (somehow) thought that if I left where I was then I would’ve just stopped going to church.
Regardless, I’m sitting here writing this and trying to figure out how I can best grow and further my faith journey – especially now that my church has opened back up and I’m able to sit there to hear the pastor’s message surrounded by people again.
Maybe I’ll do an update down the road so y’all aren’t sitting there clueless wondering what happened to me on this journey.
Okay, we’re starting this update on the 6th… We’re two days from Peanut’s birthday…
Nothing really crazy has happened since the start of the month, but it’s been an interesting month so far.
Nothing much happened on the 1st (Wednesday) – I had a birthmom zoom call and was packing for dogsitting.
On the 2nd (Thursday), one of the birthmoms from the Zoom call drove down from New Jersey to hang out with me. We stayed up until almost 5am talking, and on a video call with two other birthmoms too.
Friday night I went over to an adoptive mama’s house, and wound up hanging out there for like four and a half hours. We were supposed to have coffee and go for a walk, which turned into coffee in the house because her husband was held over at work. And she fed me dinner – pizza and salad. We talked about so many things adoption.
I don’t know how her birthday is going to go for me. I think we’ve just put together the final pieces of planning out visit. When? Got that figured out easiest. Where? We’re going to a national park. What we’re doing? We’ll do a mini hike and a picnic lunch after. How long are we gonna be there? No clue, whatever happens happens.
Saturday night I went over to a friend’s house for an independence day bbq. It was just her, me, her parents, and the dog. I was there for like 5 hours. We just hung out and talked. It was a good escape rather than being alone the whole night. And she knows about my daughter, so I didn’t have to hide that either.
Sunday, (the 5th) I saw my late uncle’s partner when he and his family came to pick up the CR-V we’ve had at my house for like three months now. I heard things that I never expected to hear, things I had no way of knowing, things that have left me confused. I mean, he was the only family member I had ever talked about my daughter with (outside of my sister and mom). We lost him in February, and it hadn’t really hit me until I knew his car wouldn’t be parked in front of my house anymore.
Fast-forward to Wednesday, and we’ve hit her birthday. The night before (Tuesday) I had been drinking and having a Zoom karaoke night with some birthmama friends. When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I was definitely not feeling great. I emailed my boss that I’d be about an hour late, but I’d be in the office. I finished packing up from dogsitting, took bottles to recycle, got a drink from Starbucks, put gas in my car, and finally made my way to the office. I shared some things on my Instagram stories, and next thing I know I’ve got someone asking for my email and sending me a gift card for Starbucks. For lunch I had one of my favorite lunches at work – fried chicken buffalo style mac & cheese. Just seemed appropriate for the day I was having. Then I wound up hiding away in the IT wing because I wasn’t sure for a bit how I would respond if people came in asking about something in my office and I didn’t immediately have an answer. (I know that it really isn’t that big a deal if I can’t answer right away, but there are days when it bothers me if I can’t.) Anyway, my boss called me at one point asking if I was okay – he knows how difficult her birthday is for me – when I happened to be hiding in his office. He told me to just grab a cable on my way out and put it back later. After I got home from work, I got a text message saying I had a DoorDash gift card from someone. I only know one person with the name that was on it, so I reached out to her. Sure enough she did it – she didn’t want me to have to worry about dinner. I didn’t need it that night, but it’ll definitely be nice to have on Saturday after we go see Peanut. Closing out the day, I got a FaceTime call from three birthmom friends out in Utah – they had just finished running their birthmom support group and sang me happy birthday for my daughter. It was so touching.
I don’t think I could’ve gotten through yesterday without the huge amounts of love and support that I received yesterday from the community I’ve built.
I don’t think I could get through the month of July (and some other difficult times in the year) if it weren’t for my community and support system.
I’ve had this blog for quite a while (it used to be coffeetattoos.wordpress.com but I decided to upgrade recently) and never really introduced myself. So maybe it’s time for me to do that…??
I’m the middle of three kids – my sister is four years older, my brother is seven and a half years younger (he was an oops… lol). My sister also has two kids (ages 11 and 12).
I’ve been diagnosed with Depression with Manic Elements (which was originally misdiagnosed as Bipolar Disorder Type II), Anxiety, and PTSD. I have taken medication at various times for the bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety but have not been on anything since early 2018.
I’ve been drinking coffee since I was probably 12 or 13, granted back then it was in the equivalent of a frappuccino so I couldn’t really taste the coffee. I started drinking coffee (with cream and sugar) in high school when I was probably 15.
I got my first tattoo in I think December 2011 when I was 19 – it’s on the right side of my ribs. I got the Scorpio symbol, but it’s got vines coming off either side so it sort of all blends together. Then I waited about 8 years before I got my second – on the left side of my chest – which has more meaning behind it than my first. It’s the adoption symbol crossed with the Celic knot, aka triquetra. I have adoption connections (this will be talked about later, and I have several posts about it) and I have Scotch-Irish heritage on my mom’s side, so it blends my future in adoption and my history together in one piece.
I was going to be an ASL Interpreter until I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in December 2015 (officially in February 2016) and chose to withdraw. It just wasn’t something that I thought was intelligent to continue moving forward with since it is something that can push interpreters out of the field. And I didn’t want to have to look into surgery because even that isn’t a guaranteed fix since it can come back again.
I had people telling me I shouldn’t because they said I’d never go back if I did, but I took a year off of school at that point. I had to figure out what I would do since I had only ever gone to school with the goal of becoming an interpreter.
I worked at a trampoline park, which didn’t last too long. Then I worked at in the headquarters office of a fleet car transportation company (think cars pharma reps have, dealership loaners, that kind of thing).
While I was in those places, I was scrolling though the degree programs my community college had and trying to decide what on earth I wanted to do now that a career in ASL was done for me. Nursing? Everyone tried to tell me they thought I’d be so good at it – and while I do find it fascinating, I simply didn’t/don’t have the science grades for that. Teaching? I don’t have the patience for all the parents – I’ve seen that push teachers into other positions or early retirement.
Eventually I decided that when I eventually go back to school, I will go into the paralegal studies program. My mom worked as a paralegal when I was younger. I’d made a handful of friends who are paralegals in California. And my daughter’s adoptive mom was a paralegal before she chose to resign and stay home with Peanut. It was also the only thing that seemed interesting to me and like something I’d actually be good at.
I’ve made mentions of adoption a couple times above, so let’s just get into that… I am a birthmom. I placed my daughter for adoption 6 years ago. We have an open adoption. She knows who I am. We see each other twice a year – birthday and late Christmas.
Oh, I’m forgetting something… BOOKS. I am a bookworm. I always have something – be that a physical book, kindle, iPad, or my phone – with me to read.
Due date: June 30 (today) Birthday: July 8 Placement: July 18
We’re coming up on a difficult time of year for me – the end of June and just the whole month of July. Especially this year – it’s like a repeat of May 2019… All the running around, and dogsitting, and so few nights in my own bed, along with everything else happening.
Don’t get me wrong… I love the dogs I take care of, and I really love their people too. But when I’m only going to have a max of eight nights at home in my own bed in a month, I’m starting to feel burnt out and exhausted just thinking about it before it even starts.
The most difficult part of being on the go and away from home so much during when things like this are happening is finding the time to take care of yourself and do things that make you feel better.
I’ve talked with multiple people (birthmama friends, adoptive mama friends, the pregnancy counselor who leads my birthmom group, friends with no connection to adoption) about this and tried to come up with a list of things that I can do for myself while being on-the-go so much.
In all the coming and going, and moving from one house to another, and living out of a suitcase… I’ve figured out some things that make bits and pieces of my life just a little bit easier lol.
I’ve decided that I’m going to pick up a new bathing suit top from Target this weekend so I can lay out in the sun and get a little color before I go see my daughter and “hike” through some woods the following weekend – plus it will be nice to have at one of the houses later in the month since they have a pool and hot tub.
I’ve got some leggings with pockets on the sides coming in so I can have my phone more readily available for pictures, rather than having to awkwardly get into my backpack. (They’ll also be good for a friend date I’ve got with an adoptive mama friend on Friday night.)
I’ve got my daughter’s birthday gift – she wanted an LOL OMG doll, so birthdad and I agreed on one and I ordered that.
Plus there’s a coffee grinder coming, which is for the coffee beans I ordered from what Shawn Johnson and Andrew East have started – UniQorn Coffee – which should be arriving soon too 🙂
The insanity starts on the 2nd. I’ll maybe do an update halfway through the month, and then another at the end. But for now. I’ve gotta take the last two nights I’ve got to relax and mentally prepare for the crazy that I’m walking into.