Tomorrow my son will be 13. You may not be able to appreciate this milestone but for us (and him) it’s a huge one.

He has come so far.

My son has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. He was born 5 weeks premature weighing in at 5 lbs. We finalized his adoption when he was 2-years-old, but he has been with us since birth. During his first 12 years of life he has struggled both medically and emotionally. Along with FAS his medical conditions include ADHD, Epilepsy/Grand Mal, mood disorder, small stature and is academically challenged. 

Our family has had many ups and downs over the years as we learn more about FAS. We have seen first hand the side effects. These include physical and neurological effects on the body. Often I am overcome with emotions. Anger over the life that he was given. Sadness knowing he wants so desperately to feel normal and fit in. Frustration because others judge and do not understand him when he is acting impulsively. I want to shout out to the world that he is not a bad child. He is actually a success story. He is surviving. 

Even as parents we often lose sight of our children’s successes when times are tough. We tend to focus on the negative and we forget how to celebrate each of their successes. We allow how others react to our children to beat us down emotionally. We want to educate everyone we meet about our children so that judgement will not be passed on their behaviors. Is it our job to warn everyone we meet about our children and how they may act at times? Nope. But we want to. Because we want our children to be accepted, loved and seen through our eyes. 

My son has been given challenges most parents would not purposely impose on their children. Despite all of these challenges he fights. He is a fighter. He is my fighter. He fought in the hospital to thrive as a preemie. He fights in school to stay on grade level. He fights to be accepted by his peers and to fit in. He fights to control his impulsive behaviors. He fights to be understood. He wants to be seen as a good boy. And he is!

I celebrate his victories.

I ask that each of you celebrate the little victories in your own children. Don’t let others beat you down. If you see a family struggling in public with their child – celebrate them! Celebrate that they made it to the store and they are doing their very best. Don’t assume a challenging child is bad or misbehaving. They have a story, too. Educate your children on acceptance and how to make every child feel included. 

Most importantly I want to tell my 13-year-old son – thank you. Thank you for showing me what a true fighter looks like and teaching me to love unconditionally. I heart YOU!

Photo credit: Gilzpics via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Kathy Rau

Kathy is raising four beautiful children with her husband, Mark. She loves living in the historic area of Fredericksburg, VA. For over 20 years, Kathy has been a Licensed Veterinary Technician and currently works part time in emergency and radioiodine medicine. Kathy runs a small business called Your Girl Friday, FXBG. Kathy has been blogging for less then a year but loves to share her stories. She has been published on Her View From Home, The Mighty, America Adopts and has had a variety of other guest posts. Her niche is Motherhood, Friendship and Adoption. You can find Kathy at: www.yourgirlblogs.com IG: krau67 Twitter: @kathyrau Facebook: Your Girl Blogs.

3 Things We Learned While Waiting For Our Adopted Child

In: Adoption
3 Things We Learned While Waiting For Our Adopted Child www.herviewfromhome.com

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage. Remember that old nursery rhyme? I can still hear it playing in my head. Growing up, I had always assumed that would be my story. The love and marriage part certainly happened for me in an amazing, storybook ending kind of way. However, the baby in the baby carriage didn’t come as quickly for my husband and me. As a few years passed, we began to feel a little restless and disheartened. However, God opened up His perfect plan for our family by leading us to...

Keep Reading

I Chose Adoption For My Baby, But I Didn’t Let Go

In: Adoption
I Chose Adoption For My Baby, But I didn't Let Go www.herviewfromhome.com

  I am often asked, when people find out I am a birth mother, “Why did you decide on adoption? Didn’t you want her?” In the tidy nutshell version of my response it was the logistical factors of being pregnant at just 16-years-old that was my why. Being a junior in high school when I saw those two pink lines in October of 2004, I still needed to graduate, plus I wanted to attend college. I did not have a job to support us. In fact, I did not have my driver’s license or even the few dollars it took...

Keep Reading

Dear Mama Reading This Right Now, You Are Amazing

In: Adoption, Child Loss, Miscarriage, Motherhood
Dear Mama Reading This Right Now, You Are Amazing www.herviewfromhome.com

To the one with healthy children in your lap, YOU are a great mom. Whether you work full-time or stay at home, you are amazing and deserve to be celebrated every day, but especially today. You sacrificed your body and your own well-being over and over again and I know you don’t regret any of it. You are enough and you are appreciated even when you don’t feel it. To the one holding a child someone else carried inside of her body, YOU are a great mom. Whether you faced infertility, surrogacy, chose to adopt, or have biological and adopted children,...

Keep Reading

4 Things a Birth Mom Wants Adoptive Families To Know

In: Adoption, Journal
4 Things a Birth Mom Wants Adoptive Families To Know www.herviewfromhome.com

The minutes on the hospital clock dwindled as I swaddled my infant daughter one last time before she was permanently placed in the arms of her adoptive family. In those final moments, I thought my heart might shatter into a thousand slivers without any hope of being mended. I was broken. Scarred. Devastated. When I left the hospital without my baby, it felt like someone was pounding on my chest with both fists and I couldn’t catch my breath. The emptiness that followed was inconceivable. A piece of me, my daughter, was gone. I couldn’t comprehend the magnitude of my...

Keep Reading

No Matter Life’s Season, God Provides What We Need

In: Adoption, Faith
No Matter Life's Season, God Provides What We Need www.herviewfromhome.com

When my husband and I adopted our older daughter Lilly 15 years ago, she was nine-months-old and weighed about 17 pounds. That might not seem like much, but she was a chunk of a little girl—so much so that people we met in elevators and restaurants in China often mistook her for a two-year-old. I had worked on my cardiovascular fitness in the months leading up to our adoption trip, and my regular runs on the treadmill prepared me to traverse the Great Wall with relative ease. My upper body strength, however, was a different story entirely. My arms and...

Keep Reading

Acknowledging the Loss in Adoption

In: Adoption
Acknowledging the Loss in Adoption www.herviewfromhome.com

  “Don’t do it! Adoption is the worst!” His voice echoed through my entire body, his words hitting every unprepared bone, and I clutched the full glass of ice water ready to plunge it in his direction. There were hundreds of people in the darkened bar room, on dates mostly, sitting in the crowd enjoying the comedy show. My insides twisted and lurched, I heard nothing but the reverberations of laughter, and my mind kept envisioning myself walking over to him and punching his face in. When the comedian began working adoption into her show, my body began tingling and...

Keep Reading

Adoption Is Love

In: Adoption, Journal
Adoption Is Love www.herviewfromhome.com

  I pull around in the car line and scan the group of kids for my daughter. Usually, I can find her easily, chatting it up with her friends as she waits for me to pick her up from school. Today, though, I don’t see her. I look again and I finally spot her. She is slumped on the curb, her head in her hands and her eyes downcast. My momma radar instantly goes off as I watch her slowly get up and drag her feet to the car and I can tell that something is wrong. She slides into...

Keep Reading

The Ache While We Wait to Adopt

In: Adoption, Faith
The Ache While We Wait to Adopt www.herviewfromhome.com

  There’s a persistent ache, but sometimes I can ignore it. I can turn up the volume of what’s around me and drown it out for a bit. I play hostess and invite the noise to come in: come fill up my heart, come fill up this empty nursery, come fill up this planner. I’ve got two kids, and they are experts at noise, so my days are full of it, and it works. The noise narcotizes the ache, making it manageable, day by noisy day.  In my former life as a teacher, I used to make my students write...

Keep Reading

How Being Adopted Made My Husband a Better Father

In: Adoption, Journal
How Being Adopted Made My Husband a Better Father www.herviewfromhome.com

My husband’s earliest memories of his adoptive mother are as blurry as the black and white photos he has taped inside a leather-bound family album. He recalls the gentle hands that tucked him into bed each night and the smell of her lavender scented soap, but these memories are intertwined with the last and most painful of all: sitting on the cold hospital steps, muffled whispers in the hallway, and the tight grip of his adoptive father’s hand as they made their way back to the car without his mother. Death was an abstract concept that he was unable to...

Keep Reading

Adoption Has Made Me a Better Mama

In: Adoption, Journal
Adoption Has Made Me a Better Mama www.herviewfromhome.com

I remember etching our family plans into a napkin at our two-year anniversary dinner. We were eating at Rio in Sisters, Oregon and I couldn’t wait to get back to the little cabin we had rented to watch Harry Potter and dream about babies. Weird combo? Probably. First we would conceive and carry a miracle baby in my actual womb. Then after a bit of time had passed, after we got “the easy one” birthed, we would enter into the adoption world. I think back to my barely 20-year-old self and think about how naive she was—I still only have...

Keep Reading