Church? Faith?

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.

200

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.
  • I have a lightning to aux input cable for my car so that I don’t have to keep moving my lightning to headphone adapter from my actual headphones to the aux cable in my car and run the risk of losing it…again.
  • 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.

Boundaries | Draw Your Line

In the past I preemptively sent someone to the moon – before working through things with this person. Then I allowed this person to come back from the moon…

When I allowed them back, things seemed to go well at first. But then I started to realize that I didn’t want to play their games anymore, and I put my foot down about it. They weren’t too thrilled with me for that…

Before I had enough game playing, we dealt with the things we hadn’t before I’d sent them to the moon. So when I sent them back to the moon, I knew that’s where they belonged.

I put up boundaries, not because I was trying to change them, but, because I could only handle so much of this person.

The decision to put the boundaries in place wasn’t easy. It was difficult and painful, and even a little ugly. Unpleasant names were used by both of us and insults were hurled. Contact with them was completely severed.

It’s been almost a year and this person is still on the moon. I don’t think about them unless the SOUL HOUSE and/or BOUNDARIES are brought up or discussed. I feel like I’m a bit better of a person because I civilly worked through things with them and then put them where they truly deserved to be.

Boundaries aren’t usually easy.

Boundaries aren’t always pretty.

But BOUNDARIES are absolutely necessary because you need to know where to DRAW YOUR LINE.


  • Who is allowed in your house?
    • You permit these people to see all sides of you – the good, the bad, the ugly, etc.
  • Who is on your porch?
    • You allow these people to be very close to your core, but you still keep a little bit of distance
  • Who is in your yard?
    •  You are close with, but you prefer to keep it light and more superficial
  • Who is just on the other side of the fence?
    • Who do you talk to, on your terms, and at a specific distance?
  • Who is down on the corner?
    • You are friends with them, but they’re more like acquaintances do you keep them at more of a distance than your fence
  • Who is at Starbucks?
    • Who do you have in your life that you need to limit your time with to something like thirty minutes to an hour?
  • Who is up on the space station?
    • Who do you really have to limit your time with? Who makes you just feel worse after being around them or talking to them?
  • Who is on the moon?
    • Who was toxic that you have you cut ties with? Who has absolutely no place in your life anymore?
  • Who SHOULD be on the moon?
    • Who is toxic in your life? Who do you need to cut ties with? Who can you realistically cut out of your life?

Take some baby steps

  • Tune into your feelings
  • Name your limits
  • Be direct
  • Give yourself permission
  • Practice self-awareness
  • Consider your past & present
  • Make self-care a priority
  • Seek support
  • Be assertive
  • Start small

New Tattoo

The day after Valentines Day I drove out to Winchester and finally got my second tattoo.

People love to ask me why I went to a shop that’s so far away. It’s a familiar, trusted place. And I thoroughly admire the work of both artists there. Plus, sometimes you simply want to go for a road trip, and there’s just something about taking one with a clear destination. 

It’s a design that I had been looking at for nearly three and a half years. And I was originally going to get it almost two and a half years ago. But at that point, I was let go from my job, all my money went to things that needed to be paid, and then I totalled my truck two days after I had planned to get the tattoo.

This design (insert image later) is the adoption symbol with the Celtic Knot used as the triangle, all done as one line. I have Scotch-Irish heritage, on my mother’s side. The one great-grandmother I knew is where the Irish heritage comes from. If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I placed my daughter for adoption just over five and a half years ago. And something I remembered a few months ago is that my great-grandmother was also a foster mom. So, the two aspects are wound together tighter than I had realized.

National Adoption Month Posts

November was a bit of a rough month for me. I participated in Ashley Mitchell‘s Adoption Awareness Month Photo-a-Day Challenge. I somehow managed to get all of my posts up on the days they were supposed to go up, even if it wound up being at night. Granted, I did snag the sneak peek preview of Ashley’s prompts when she put them on her Insta-story in like September and started working on them then. So, I definitely had time to prep everything before they went up…

Nov 1 – Accountability
Nov 2 – Broken
Nov 3 – Community
Nov 4 – DNA
Nov 5 – Ethics
Nov 6 – Fake
Nov 7 – Growth
Nov 8 – Honor
Nov 9 – Ignorance
Nov 10 – Jealousy
Nov 11 – Kindness
Nov 12 – Language
Nov 13 – Motives
Nov 14 – Navigation
Nov 15 – Options
Nov 16 – Promises
Nov 17 – Questions
Nov 18 – Roles, Rights, Responsibilities
Nov 19 – Stereotypes
Nov 20 – Timing
Nov 21 – Unknown
Nov 22 – Vulnerable
Nov 23 – Worth
Nov 24 – eXcuses
Nov 25 – Yearning
Nov 26 – Zip It

I’ll come back later once I’ve pulled myself together and share some thoughts on the month.

Ten Steps to Blogging When You Don’t Feel Like Blogging

1. Get a cup of tea and whine about how blogging is hard for as long as it takes to drink it. (You could even turn this whining into a blog post… *nudge*nudge*)

2. White down ideas you have. They don’t all have to be used. I’ve had ideas that I’ve looked back at later and wondered why I thought I could write about that.

3. Look at what kind of posts you enjoy reading – write down what you like about them and how you could do something similar.

4. Take a few simple ones and start making the lists or trying to bullet point a draft.

5. Look at pictures of nature and imagine what you would be doing if you were there. Write it out.

6. Make a list of your favorite authors, books, artists, songs, tv shows, movies, etc.

7. Review a product/service that you think other people are interested in or should know about.

8. Tell a story of something you’ve been through that could potentially help other people.

9. Make a playlist of songs for a certain activity or feeling. Either list the songs and artists or link your Spotify.

10. Forget you were making this list for over a month… Then come back to it, look it over, and decide if it needs more work (I think we’re good), and post.

Voila!!

This is (Hopefully) My Comeback Post

Okay. So, I’ve been absent from here for a long time.

Like, a LONG TIME. I don’t really have much of an excuse.

I’d like to say it’s because I had an office job for like 6/7 months in 2017, but that only explains part of it.

Honestly, I just haven’t really felt like I have anything to say that’s worth sharing with everyone. But I want to come back to blogging, even if there’s no real schedule to my posts. Even one a month would be better than things have been lately.


I could’ve been on here talking about my mental health, but I just simply didn’t have the energy for it.

I could’ve blogged about my 25th birthday, but I’d just recently lost my job; then, I crashed my truck that night on the way to my boyfriend’s house.

I could’ve blogged about how I figured out with my therapist that things surrounding my accident triggered memories from my daughter’s adoption which led to PTSD

I could’ve blogged in February about the cruise I’d just come back from, but I felt like that would’ve been weird because I’d never talked about it previously and I was unemployed so I was afraid of questions about how I’d paid for it.

I could’ve blogged recently about my anger surrounding adoption, but I wasn’t sure how to put it into words that made sense (aside from the letter I sent to my daughter’s adoptive parents).


But I’m here now, and I’ve got a couple post ideas I want to work on. After posting in a group, I want to do something like “Ten Steps to Blogging When You Don’t Feel Like Blogging” and I also want to do a birthmom q&a. I’ve tried to do a post answering questions from people about birthmoms, but no one ever left enough questions for me. So I’m hoping that this time will be different, but I’m not counting on anything.


I’ll attempt to briefly explain the “I could’ve blogged about …” topics from above. 

My mental health – To be honest, I can’t briefly explain this here. It would probably take its own post, and I’m not up for that yet.

My 25th birthday – I was let go from my job a week before my birthday. On my way to my boyfriend’s house to celebrate my birthday, I sneezed and crashed into the back of the van in front of me. (Yes, I know how ridiculous this sounds, but it’s the truth…) The only silver lining was that the firemen were cute haha. 

PTSD – The paramedics who came to the scene didn’t pay any attention to me because the woman in the vehicle I’d hit made such a ridiculous scene that she hogged all their attention. Which reminded me of how my dad tried to ignore the fact that my daughter even exists. It all comes down to being ignored when I needed people to acknowledge the pain I was in – emotional or physical pain.

Cruise I’d just come back from – I was lucky enough to be able to score a ticket to the BTG™ Soul Cruise 2018 with Ashley Mitchell. It was a lot of firsts for me and it was a super fun adventure. I’ll probably eventually do a post about it here. 

My anger surrounding adoption – This one is a bit difficult, because I can’t tell you exactly what triggered it. I was encountering conversations and posts on Facebook that were leaving me angry or confused about how many emotions I was feeling. We’re counting down the days until our July visit, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. I didn’t want the memories to be tainted with anger and confusion, while knowing I was pretending to be okay.
So I sent an email to the adoptive parents, even though I was terrified to. They thanked me for my honesty. Birthfather is gonna make plans for July with them, keeping me in the loop so if I want to come I know what’s going on. If I don’t go, the adoptive parents and I will play by ear trying to find some extra time for me before January.


Welp, I think that’s all I can do for right now… Hopefully I’ll be back to y’all soon with another post.

Coping

After telling my therapist that my depression has gotten so much worse, and I’m afraid that I’ll fall back into self-harm habits again, she sent me these two lists:

If you self-harm to express pain and intense emotions

  • Paint, draw, or scribble on a big piece of paper with red ink or paint
  • Start a journal in which to express your feelings
  • Compose a poem or song to say what you feel
  • Write down any negative feelings and then rip the paper up
  • Listen to music that expresses what you’re feeling

To calm and soothe yourself

  • Take a bath or hot shower
  • Pet or cuddle with a dog or cat
  • Wrap yourself in a warm blanket
  • Massage your neck, hands, and feet
  • Listen to calming music
  • Put a ziploc bag full of ice under your arm, by your armpit and hold it there for 1 min

Whether any of these things are going to truly work or not, I have yet to find out. But I do intend on really trying to keep myself from repeating history. That would be a setback that no one wants.

Even with these coping methods, the temptation is still there. It always is. They’re simply other ways of releasing the pent up emotions that could lead to self-harm.

The longer I sit and binge watch shows on Netflix, the more confused I get about how I feel. There can so often be such a lack of motivation to do anything when you feel this low. And that’s what I’m dealing with.

But as the nights get later, and everyone I talked to goes to sleep, the depression rises and the voices in my head start to come back and get louder. They’re difficult to ignore. They tell me things that I already think on my own. But somehow those things just seem more intense, and sometimes even more true, when it seems like those things are coming from a voice other than my own.

Self Care Ideas

  • Unplug for an hour
  • Take a quick nap (10-20 min)
  • Write out your thoughts
  • Splurge a little
  • Have a self date (an hour alone doing something that nourishes you)
  • Take a home spa
  • Do one thing a day just because it makes you happy
  • Activate your self-soothing system
  • Check in with your emotions
  • Take a hot shower or bath
  • Deep condition your hair
  • Apply a face mask
  • Turn off your phone
  • Escape with a TV show
  • Light a candle
  • Paint your nails
  • Color
  • Write in a journal
  • Have your favorite dessert
  • Take a deep breath and put things into perspective
  • Go for a drive
  • Have a cup of tea
  • Read a book
  • Wear comfy clothes
  • Watch your favorite show/movie

Open Letter to Prospective Birthmother

Hey there love,

I know things right now are scary. I’ve been in your shoes. I know how you feel.

You’re afraid of judgement on your situation. You’re afraid your child will grow up and hate you for placing them. You might be afraid that the adoptive parents will break their promises down the road.

I heart stories about all kind of different ways adoptions turned out. I know there is no way to predict how things will go down the road, so all you can ready do is hope for the best.

My daughter was placed when she was ten days old. Her parents didn’t have any kids before, so we’re all navigating open adoption for the first time together. But now I want to share some things I’ve learned along the way.

If your adoption agency allows you to have a hand in choosing the family to place your child with, do it. It can be overwhelming, but I highly suggest following your gut. You’ll know the right family when you see them.

When you go into labor and deliver your baby, there will be lots of emotions. You may cry, and that’s totally okay. See your baby when you feel ready. Don’t let anyone rush you or tell you you shouldn’t.

Take pictures of your baby. Take pictures of you together. Send them to the adoptive parents if you can. Those moments with him/her in the hospital are precious memories. Having those pictures and memories are a help when you’re having a bad day – or at least they have been for me.

Don’t be afraid of the social worker who comes in while you’re in the hospital. It’s standard procedure, and they just want to make sure you weren’t pressured into choosing adoption for your child.

You are not less of a person because of the choice you made to place. I know you might feel that way, but I promise you are still such an amazing person. Do not let anyone make you feel bad about the decision you made.

You are giving the family you choose such an amazing gift. You are giving them a baby! You are gaining a new family through your child’s adoption. Enjoy your new life to come!

xoxo
Katy