What Happened To My Adoptive Mom’s Wedding Ring…and Me

When Junk Becomes A Treasure

Okay, so i’ve been tearing around the house looking for something I usually would have cared less about.

Was it in coat pockets? Could it be in my bedside table? Did it fall from my skinny fingers without my knowledge?

This lost something remained in my jewelry drawer, and frankly, until lately, I considered it junk–two silver bands, filthy from age, with the main diamond missing.

Oh, God, please help me find it.

I couldn’t believe myself.

Up until then, when and if ever my thoughts turned to mom, I remembered only the shouting matches at lunch hour and her obsessive smoking, like a smoke stack.

I came from a hard place, from desperate beginnings.

My adoptive mom was insecure about who she was as a person, but even more so about her ability to parent me.

I grew up with a mom who was hard to love.

And, she raised a daughter who wouldn’t bond with her, no matter what.

There were no warm memories.

I wonder if she had any warm memories?

So, what was going on inside me?

Why the desperation over old, tarnished pieces of junk?

Let’s back up to a few weeks ago when I spotted those rings buried beneath other jewelry.

Taking them out, something strange started happening deep inside me.

I thought about my late Dad picking them for Mom.

Where did he get them? And, why did he pick this design? And…what was it like for both of them when he asked her to marry him? Did they hug, kiss? Did he get down on one knee?

And, for her?

What was it like when he placed those rings on her hand?

Was she surprised? Was she full of dreams for what their future might hold?

Then, came the thought–get them cleaned and repurposed. A beautiful new diamond for the main ring and tiny diamond chips for the band.

Husband, Bob, loved the idea and was in agreement that it would be a special investment.

These rings could be daily reminders to me of the hard places I’ve come from as well as the new places I’m now experiencing.

Let me emphasize–

Never. Never. Never have I had these kind of thoughts. Thoughts that looked at life from a different perspective. Thoughts that brought those I once knew to life.

And, so you’re probably wondering what caused the shift in perspective? What caused pieces of junk to become treasures?

All I’ll be able to share now is that a major overhaul has been done inside of me.

I’ve been forced by current circumstances into a crisis of forgiveness, which has required deep, heavy recovery work.

Bottom line?

I believe adoptees and their moms can heal from painful beginnings.

And, I continue to be surprised by my new perspective on life and my past, down to the last detail…a junky ring becoming my treasure.


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How Adoptive and Foster Mamas Can Discover Their Legacy

Where Is Your Legacy, Adoptive and Foster Mamas?

Recently, my husband and brother cleared their late parent’s dilapidated  work shed on the family farm.

After hours of sifting through cobwebs, rat droppings, and bat nests, they discovered two glass objects wrapped in yellow, moldy newspapers.

While wondering if they could be extremely rare pieces of Steuben glass, a memory of their late uncle popped into their consciousness, for he once collected such valuables.

Of course, they loved the glass, but many questions remained.

Imagine how meaningful it would have been for my husband and brother to find an accompanying journal, explaining where their uncle got these collectables and why they had such personal significance.

This is a lovely picture of what it means to leave a legacy.

Up until lately, whenever I heard the word “legacy,” I envisioned a family seated around a desk in a lawyers office, listening to the last wishes of a departed love one.

However, legacies aren’t just about funerals and caskets, but about living life to the fullest. 

Legacies are living, fresh, and active, encompassing everyday life in our memories, whether negative or positive.

Legacies are heirlooms, or gifts, passed on from one generation to the next.

Legacies are a wake-up call, reminding us of life’s brevity, for none of us know when we’ll exit.

Legacies can be positive or negative, teaching us that we learn what to do from some people and what not to do from others.

Legacy isn’t passive, but active, for we can proactively create our legacies now.

Now, don’t get nervous thinking legacy is something you must achieve or accomplish.

You need not rumble through grandpa’s old papers to find it, for it’s closer

than the air you breathe.

Could it be that you’re a beginner at this, like me?

Frankly, I get enthusiastic thinking that even though the first part of my legacy—my life lived now—is showing my legacy, I can do something else to create documents, gifts, and photos for my children and grandchildren.

Let me ask: Could your gift be hidden in an old shed of shame? Could it be wrapped with the yellowed, moldy newspapers of discouragement and exhaustion?

Would you come to the shed with me?

If I hold your hand, would you be willing to open the creaky door and push away the cobwebs?

Will you be willing to search for your legacy by stomping through mouse droppings and bat nests?

If so, you’ll discover your legacy, like my husband finding the multi-faceted valuables.

Now, you’re asking, “What am I looking for? What is my legacy gift?”

It’s YOU.

Yes, YOU.

For, YOU, dear one, are the gift, the heirloom to the next generation.

Yes, every single inch of you that lives the daily grind is part and parcel of your legacy. Your strengths and weaknesses, your challenges and failures, your dreams and goals.

Maybe you don’t feel like a gift?

Since when do feelings mean anything?

The solid fact is that you’re it.

Just think, as you enter the shed, you may discover you’re Steuben after all.

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One Adoptee Discovers Late Mom’s Legacy of Love

When Rocky Memories Turn Warm

I never dreamed I’d be writing a book about her…my late adoptive mom, that is.

It felt like I never loved her…in fact, I hated her.

Now, something quite unexpected is happening.

Warm memories are surfacing. I can smell her apple pie, see her take care of my kitty, and feel her gentle hands rubbing warm oil on my childhood asthmatic chest.

Had something changed in my brain?

Why the warm memories?

After all, mom died 37 years ago and my lifelong memories of her were far from warm. Instead, I remembered  daily fighting matches.

Where did the memories come from?

Were they stored somewhere deep inside?

At the same time, I was learning about legacy and how it is a gift from one generation to the next.

Could I be discovering mom’s legacy to me at this late date–the seventh chapter of life?

A few months later, I was asked to speak to a group of adoptive and foster mamas in Pennsylvania.

The meeting planner asked about the topic and it was then that I took a leap and asked if I could share these memories along with truths about how mamas can create a legacy, even if their kiddos aren’t ready to receive it.

Before delivering my message, I felt like a scared cat delivering a dead mouse at the door.

How could these weary mamas who were parenting kids with severe behaviors possibly be edified? 

Much to my surprise, their faces were welcoming.

How amazing these turn of events are!

I thought I was done writing books and speaking, but now I’m writing a book about mamas leaving a legacy.