“Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does.
So, what are we, helpless? Puppets? Nah. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's
when you find out who you are." - Joss Whedon

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Raindrops of the Heart - By Cassie A. Grzesik

Raindrops of the Heart

Before I knew how to write this poem I grew inside my mom
I knew she loved me every moment - yet, something was very wrong
I sensed her unspoken sadness when her heart would beat at night
I didn’t know just what it was, but I knew that it wasn’t right

I grew and grew and grew inside as my mother cared for me
I heard her talk of “making a choice, picking a family”
One day I listened very closely to what was being said
I heard a word like “birth-mom,” and that my mom and dad weren’t wed

I decided to pay attention, so much going on out there
Different people were talking, families kneeling down in prayer
Mom assured me that she loved me but the question of what was right
Seemed to consume her every thought, she wrestled with it day and night

I knew my mother wasn’t sleeping but I had to get some rest
I awoke to the sound of raindrops as mother held me to her breast
And when I looked around me, I saw the light in my mother’s eyes
Her voice whispered safety and comfort, her touch so gentle and kind

She cuddled me so softly as I took in my new way of life
I felt the love only mother could give, love paid at a very high price
Lots of people kissed me (oh, yes, I must have been quite a site)
Aunts and uncles and grandmas, too…all cuddled and held me tight

I then remembered the soft sounds of the raindrops of the heart
I knew a change was coming…that my mother and I would part
The night was full of stories and the dreams that she wished for me
She told me love is forever, another mommy’d meet my needs

She held me close and I wondered if some day I could love like her
Show her how grateful I really am for the pains she chose to endure
Then the room filled with giant raindrops and hearts were pounding so fast
My mother held me so tightly…into another’s arms I was passed…

Now I’m in a new home with a brother who kisses my cheeks
He holds my hand and loves me, his kisses so gentle and sweet
My mommy now, she tells me, of how our family came to be
About mommy, daddy, and brother and my mother who placed me

Yes, the raindrops of the heart make the most beautiful rainbows, too
I have the two loveliest mommies ever, a circle of love that’s true
And yes I hear another heartbeat that is beating close to mine
Not the mother I was born to but a mother with the same shine
She smells a little different; she too, cuddles me to her breast
I feel safe in these new arms and so I close my eyes to rest

I dream soundly of my first days and the songs that my mother sang
The comfort in her loving arms, a love that will never change
I’m grateful for the choice she made and I promise to live my life
The very best that I know how…as I honor her sacrifice

By Cassie A. Grzesik
Inspired By: Robin Grzesik and Kenzie Nicole

Welcome Back!

Well, it has been a week since I got back from the National Conference in Utah, and let me just tell you that it was AMAZING!  They had so much great information there.  Tawnia, Tara, Pam, Megan and I had a wonderful time gathering ideas for our Regional Conference this fall!  It is going to knock your socks off people!!!  (BTW-It will be held on November 5th and 6th, 2010 right here in Federal Way, WA -- save the date!)

So one of the reasons this post has taken me so long to write is because I am having a hard time narrowing down EVERYTHING I got from national conference into something that will fit into one post!   So, I have decided to do a couple of posts.  One for each of the topics that I wanted to bring back and share with my WONDERFUL Western Washington FSA Chapter!  I am only one person and could only attend a small handful of the PLETHORA of classes and panels that were offered, but what I learned is something I would like to share with all of you.  Hopefully you will take a minute to read over the main ideas that I took from the classes and ponder them yourselves.  Ask yourself how it might relate to you!  But before I get to all that I have big news! 

I would like to CONGRATULATE Tawnia Singleton - our Adoption Manager, and Tara Larson - our part-time adoption worker.  They were recognized at the Chair's breakfast for all their hard work putting together the high school presentation and the education courses they offer monthly at the office.   For their amazing efforts on behalf of adoption they received an Outstanding Service Award!  Congratulations Tawnia and Tara and thank you for all you do!
Todd and Rebecca, Tawnia and Tara, Carrie and Derek
Our Regional Chairs, Rebecca and Todd Harrison, and the Oregon Chapter Chairs, Derek and Carrie C., also received recognition for their hard work and time they put into pulling off last years Regional Conference in Portland.  They too received an Outstanding Service Award for all they do for adoption. Congratulations Rebecca, Todd, Derek and Carrie and thank you!

For more information on everything you misses at National Conference please visit the National blog at:
http://www.familiessupportingadoption.blogspot.com/  Mark your calendars for next years National Conference: July 29th and 30th, 2011 at the Davis Center in Layton Utah.  I promise you that you will NOT regret going!

Coping with Infertility - National Conference Course

In order to survive we have to change - Oprah

Change what we Think:
• Remember that we are Children of God and that He loves us
• We are not defined by our infertility
• We can do great things - Positive Affirmations

Change what we Say:
• Say positive things to those around you
• Don't let your Infertility be the focus of your conversation
• Advocate

Change what we Do:
• Have a passion other than your infertility
• Loose yourself in the service of others
• Allow yourself a day to grieve
• Sanctify yourself

Why FSA - National Conference course

No matter where you fit into adoption... FSA needs YOU! We're all in this together.

What is FSA?
• Stands for Families Supporting Adoption
• FSA is the largest adoption support organization in the country
• FSA works closely with LDS Family Services to offer continuing education and social opportunities as a means of building and strengthening families and to offer outreach in the community and promote positive adoption education and legislation
• FSA includes Adoptive Couples, Birthparents and Birth families, Adoptees, Adoption Professionals and others who have in some way been touched by adoption

What does membership in Families Supporting Adoption REALLY mean?
• Network of friends with a similar bond - Adoption.
• You get out what you put in, and then some.

Who is FSA for?
• Adoptive Couples and families
• Birth parents / families
• Children
• Anyone who has been touched by adoption

What does FSA have to offer?
• Activities
• Mentors for adoptive couples
• Service opportunities in the local chapter
• Support
   -Online group discussions
   -Outreach presentations at schools and in the community
• FSA blogs and websites
• Opportunities to share your adoption story

When should you get involved with FSA?
• Now! Everyone can help support adoption, even for just a few minutes each month!
• Upcoming activities / events

Why should you get involved with FSA?
• Greater understanding of adoption
• Relationships for couples and children
• Spirit of Adoption
• Instant network of experienced couples in a similar situation
• Giving Back
• Getting involved helps you get more out of your adoption experience

Opportunities with FSA?
• Education
• Mentoring
• Activities
• Calling Tree
• Historian
• Outreach
• Legislative
• Web Moderator
• Membership / Records
• Media

How can you get involved?
• Email your chapter Chair
• Contact your case worker
   -Tawnia Singleton singletonta@ldsfamilyservices.org

Being an Adoption Advocate - National Conference course

You can advocate here or there, you can advocate anywhere!

What does it mean to be an adoption advocate?
• dispelling myths and clarifying misconceptions
• opening your mouth
• helping people use correct terminology
• sharing your passion for and testimony of adoption
• educating
• increasing awareness of the adoption option

Even 'busy' people can advocate for adoption
• everyone is busy, but everyone has time to be an adoption advocate
• the key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. - Stephen Covey
• "have i done any good in the world today?"

Anyone can advocate - no matter how much time you have.
• Anything you do - no matter how big or small - is better than nothing
• these are things you can do with or without FSA
• these are things you can do in your won community and neighborhood
• these are things you can do by yourself or with a group of your friends

What are some things you can do to be an adoption advocate?
• small amount of time
   -share your love and testimony of and spiritual experience with adoption
   -get involved in FSA - there are varying levels of involvement
   -keep adoption info in your wallet/purse to distribute when prompted
   -talk about adoption/pass out materials to family and friends, other adoptive couples or advocates, your hairdresser or barber.
   -if you already have a blog add a list of couples who are hoping to adopt, link to their profiles and link to the national FSA blog.
   -put on adoption spin on the way you answer your questions in church as well as in the lessons and talks you prepare.
   -wear adoption paraphernalia and give as gifts
• medium amount of time
   -Talk about adoption / pass out materials to neighbors, work colleagues, bishops, RS presidents, YSA reps and teenagers you know.
   -if you already have a blog research adoption articles, link to them with your reaction or summary or interview adoption professionals, members of the triad.
   -Add to adoption discussions on social networking sites and blogs: http://www.adoptionblogs.com/http://www.adoptionvoices.com/, myspace.com, facebook.com, youtube.com
   -car ad - drive around an adoption message or url on your back window.
   -get involved in FSA's school and church outreach programs
• large amount of time
   -talk about adoption/ pass out materials to doctors and nurses at hospitals, attorneys, dentists, planned parenthood, abortion clinics, pregnancy resource centers, rape recovery centers, JHS / HS principals, health teachers and counselors, women's counseling centers at colleges, podcasters, newspapers, women's health clinics, women's shelters, women's rehab centers, prisons, hospital staff and social workers, dept. of human services offices, WIC clinics, student clinics at colleges and universities
   -start a personal blog or adoption blog to talk about adoption/infertility and adoption issues/research
   -help with or volunteer to start a blog for your FSA chapter
   -make a video about adoption and post it online
   -ask to be a guest writer/blogger/interview on popular blogs, podcasts and print media
   -ask popular bloggers, podcasters, journalists, newspapers in your area to advocate for adoption on their site with a featured article.
   -adoption yard sale to benefit friends and family who may be adopting. Provide info on adoption and ask the press to cover it.
   -walk in your city's parade carrying FSA banner and wearing Orange: Orange you glad you chose adoption?
   -mass empty stroller walk
   -birth mothers day walk
   -art gallery display where local art gallery exhibit couples seeking to adopt by displaying artistic expressions of adoption, infertility, family...
   -library display in November for national adoption awareness month. Use school libraries and have adoption stats posted.
   -5K or other race with adoption T-shirts
  -bake sale and sell recipe books

Brainstorm more ideas
• what are things you've done that have worked well
• where do you need help
• what is keeping you from being an adoption advocate