Monday, December 28, 2015

Thoughts on 2015 and Looking Forward to the New Year

I've been an adult for 25 years. Most of my adult years have been wrought with crisis. It is the nature of being a parent to a brood of special needs kids. If one were to go back and state the most defining moment of each year of my adulthood, most years it would be something big and often scary (Motherhood at 17, open heart surgery for infant son, graduating from high school with a baby on my hip, going to college while working two jobs and managing disabled son's health care -- and that is just the first three or four years.) In the same eight week period, I managed to graduate from college, get married, move to another state, have all my wisdom teeth pulled, and see my son through yet another pacemaker surgery (I know, crazy). In my adult years, I have also moved entire households five times. After trying and failing to grow our family the traditional way, we fostered and then adopted two very high end kids. Then -- surprise -- we had our biological daughter, growing our family from one child to four children in the span of 17 months! Do you see a theme here? CHAOS controlled, but CHAOS nonetheless.

Today is our oldest daughter's 15th birthday. She is not living with us. She is living in a home for children with severe emotional problems. I see now that the damage that was done to her in infancy by her abusive birth mother was so great that she never could have had a normal and delightful childhood. Unfortunately, I doubt she will have the happy, productive adulthood we all wish for our children. We had such grand hopes and dreams for our Goldilocks when we adopted her at age 2. We did everything the doctors and therapists told us to do. But it wasn't enough to heal her, and for 11 years we lived with a child with extreme behavior issues who took chaos to an entirely new level. Today, Goldilocks is an angry teenager who is testing her house mother every single hour of every single day and in strange and unpredictable ways. She has made it clear that she doesn't want to come home (yet) and hasn't seen her siblings in almost two years (because the state requires her to do so, she does see her father and me several times a month but refuses to see her siblings). We are still praying that we will find some program or miracle that will improve her quality of life and the quality of the lives of those who are trying to care for her. She intentionally creates chaos (she admits to this) and thus wears people out, so they can only take her chaos for short periods of time. All we can do for her is to keep praying. 

Finally, I am getting to the year 2015. What words would I use to describe 2015? This year was calm and filled with healing for the rest of our family! When I look back on the biggest moments of the year, they are small but happy ones. Nothing life altering and major happened in our household. The hardest thing was the loss of our dog of 16 years. The most delightful things were watching our kids dance, traveling to new places, enjoying endless hours of board games, homeschooling and family laughter. I love to see my family laughing. There were no major changes to my husband's job, our marriage, our housing, our finances, our family structure. There were no major medical setbacks for any of our children (that is huge in my world). I am so grateful for a calm year. I've tried very hard to make only choices that would create calmness, even if it meant giving up something that was fun (but hard to pull off).

So my goal for 2016 is to KEEP CALM! I absolutely crave calmness. Of course, much of life is out of our control. But we can control some of our choices and the ones I can control I intend to make calm and peaceful choices. Yes, I still hope to travel a bit in the next year and do new things. But I only want to do things that benefit our family in healing, calm ways. We all have been through enough turmoil for a lifetime. So I pray that we will remain healthy and continue to grow and heal as a happy family. Here is praying for another CALM year!

Blessings, Dawn


  1. I think we'd make good IRL friends. My firstborn was born when I was only 18, and we've seen our share of crazy over the years, as well. 2015 has been a trying year for us, with the fluctuation of kids in the house going from 8 to 7 to 9 to 10 to 8 again. I could go for some calm in 2016, too. :)

  2. So glad 2015 was a good and peaceful year for you and your family. I will be praying for even more calm and healing throughout 2016. You deserve it!

  3. This is Belinda Bullard over at I absolutely love everything about this post--the transparency, the update into your family life, and the very simplistic, attainable (?) goal of calm. My "goals" are similar, along the lines of eating more whole foods, involving my husband more in the day-to-day of the kids' school calendars, etc. (which is how I got here--I went to Google+ on the way to Google, and then began to read your blog). So proud of you and honored to be an online friend. I look forward to making this stop more in 2016. I'm sharing this one--it's fantastic, and more people need to read it.