Thursday, November 4, 2010

National Adoption Month

“Adoption is not about finding children for families, it's about finding families for children” --Joyce Maguire Pavao

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. I never really realized this or new there was a month to celebrate one of the greatest things that ever happened to me, but I'm so glad I discovered it. And, I would first like to say THANK YOU to 4 individuals. I'd like to thank my parents, John and Connie Stannard for taking that leap of faith, driving to Omaha and picking me up and making a make-shift bed for me in that dresser drawer for those first couple nights of my new life with you. And I'd like to thank two responsible teenagers who made what was probably the biggest decision of their lives--they gave me a better life and didn't terminate my life by taking "the easy way out" as many did back in the early 70s.

Yes, I was adopted at just a few weeks old, and I never thought my life was any different. My mom and I fought like a lot of moms and daughters fight, and people say I look like my dad--maybe that was when we were younger and he had hair. My parents were always open about where I came from and I even corresponded with the Children's Home during different milestones in my life--graduation and special achievements. They always wrote me back. And then, as I got older I did seek information about my birth parents--purely from a medical standpoint--so I might know something about my medical history. However, I never had the desire to know my biological parents. They did the responsible thing, and although I sometimes wonder how my life would be different--Would I be a city kid vs. a country bumpkin--I never regret one day of my life.

My first meeting with my awesome parents!

It seems the older I get the more adopted folks I know, and more people my age have also adopted children, both in the U.S., and internationally. My adoption was closed, but I know several who have gone through open adoption where the children are still in touch with the birth mother. Both are great situations, as long as they work for all involved.

People face adoption from both sides for many reasons; I was showing a co-worker my baby book today since I brought it in to scan some of these great photos of me--look I loved wearing red, even at 8 months old--and he couldn't believe that there was a write-up about my adoption in the local newspaper. I explained to him that adoption wasn't taboo in my family. And, just like my cousins, I deserved a "birth announcement" too.

Even today, I hear people say, "well we have tried to have a baby, but my husband is against adoption." Or "I could never adopt, it just wouldn't feel like my baby." These words sting, and I explain to the people who say them if they really want a family, that adoption is a fabulous option. And, there are so many babies and children out there that deserve a loving family.

So, as I continue to count my blessings this month of Thanksgiving and recognize National Adoption Awareness Month, I would like to say thanks to those who take time to help others children their families. And I'd like to thank the families whose lives have been completed with their children. Due to respect of privacy, I won't mention names; just know you all are special people, whether in Nebraska, Illinois, Maryland, Indiana, Kansas, Wisconsin, New Mexico or wherever you might be. And know that you have made a difference.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Community: it's more than just a place

I've been thinking about what makes up a community a lot lately; and as you might guess with my lack of blogging I've had lots of windshield and airport time to think. It's funny, but I always thought of a community as a place--you know that location where one grew up, went to school or church. But in the last month or so, I've realized a community just isn't a place. It's your peeps. It's a group of people that you share common interests and beliefs with. Yes, that group might all be from the same locale, but they don't necessarily have to be.

As the daughter of gypsy parents (really, Trey, you believed that?) I am sometimes at loss to describe by traditional "community". When asked where I'm from, I often reply that I grew up in Western Nebraska and Western Kansas. But, that is pretty broad. I mean, I lived in about a dozen houses by the time I was 16 and had numerous addresses--Hemingford, Mullen, Hay Springs, Alliance, Chadron. And that was before we moved to Heaven, I mean St. Francis, KS. So, this is the root of my search for my communities. So, let's take a look at some of the communities I claim today.

Obviously, I have my Angus community. I couldn't ask for a better bunch of people to be associated with. I love the Angus breeders, members, exhibitors, fitters. The whole bunch is amazing. I was on vacation a few weeks ago to an Angus wedding, and while traveling, visited two other Angus families, both of which I adore. I know I can go practically anywhere in the US, and have Angus peeps to visit or take care of me in a pinch.

Then, I think back to life before Angus, which is sometimes challenging--I have my college peeps. The guys and gals I went to all three colleges with. We saw each other through some of the best and some of the worst times. And though we don't see each other as often as I'd like, we are all still just a phone call away.

Then, there are the ag communicator peeps. This group is about the most exciting/motivating group ever, and I got to spend some time with them last weekend in KC, thus the renewed blog interest. They are passionate about being a voice for agriculture, and I know I need to be better at this too. Thanks for the inspiration!

Finally, there is my faith community. Although, I attend church on a regular basis--ok, when I'm in town, which is not a regular basis--I rely on friends and family to help me build my relationship with the LORD. This might be with conversations, scripture on Facebook or my online Bible study gals, which definitely aren't in the same location.

So, there's some thoughts to ponder for the evening. Where is your community? Is it where your feet and roots are planted or are your communities where your people are. I say they are our friends and loved ones and it does take more than one community to raise this adult!