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What is it like Being Adopted?

adoptedGrowing up, I used to hate when my adoptive mom would brag to perfect strangers about how she adopted my brothers and I as if she deserved some kind of award or something. Don’t get me wrong, she honestly did deserve one since she was raising us with the little money she had …..so for that,  I give her props.

Being adopted is honestly not too bad as a child because you do not know anything else. At a young age, you do not technically understand how you entered the world or how you were created, so to me, adoption was the norm. As far as I was concerned, everyone in my eyes was adopted. As I grew older and started to learn more about adoption, I used to wonder how in the world could my biological parents ever give up three children? I wondered if it was something that my brothers and I did. Did they see something wrong with us? Did we put them through absolute hell? My adoptive mother would always tell us how “special” we were, and I did not understand how being given away made us so special.

When I was old enough to truly understand adoption, I became very curious about my biological parents. What did they look like? Why were we given up for adoption? Do I look like my mother or father? Whom do I take after? Do I have more brothers and sisters? etc. etc. etc.

I thought I would never meet them since it was a closed adoption and my birth name was changed. My birth certificate did not have my birth name nor did it have any parents’ names on it. It was ridiculous how, at that time, in the state of New Jersey adoptees could not get their original birth certificate. Therefore, I never knew the name I was given at birth until I met my biological parents.
I grew up feeling guilty because my adoptive mother told me she did not want me to meet my biological mother because “she was my mother and raised me.” My intention was not to replace her, it was just to learn about my background, and about who I truly was if this makes any sense. I was curious to know whose mannerisms I had. Where did I get my creativity from? etc. etc.

I also knew that I could face a lot of disappointment when I met them, but I didn’t care because I just wanted to meet them. I would deal with the disappointment later on……which I did.I have always pictured the day I met my biological parents……running  towards me hand-in-hand tears streaming down their faces. My mother sobbing while my father falls to his knees. This was not the case.When I first found my biological father, he was a prison inmate for burglary. My mother was only 20 minutes away and worked at a supermarket. Ok, at least one of my parents wasn’t such a disappointment. I would write letters to my father (whom I refer to and call Ralph (his first name) ). Ralph was very sincere and apologetic. He was much more loving than my adoptive father, so we wrote back and forth for a few months. He was easier to contact than my mother.

At the time, in a closed adoption in New Jersey, your adoptive parents change your name and you can never meet your biological parents until you are 21. On the day when I drove down to visit my biological mother, I surprisingly was not nervous. I felt no emotion really which is strange because I expected the complete opposite. I just wanted to see what she looked like, hear her voice and wanted answers as to why. Why was I given up for adoption? Do I have more brothers and sisters? Why is Ralph in jail? Whom do I take after?

Before driving down there, I prepared a box filled with pictures. Pictures filled with important memories and events from my life. I included pictures from my childhood, Halloween, Christmas, prom, high school graduation, etc. etc. I pictured her eager to learn more about my childhood and upbringing while tears streamed down her face. I pictured her asking me so many questions that I would be unable to keep up with answering them. I imagined her analyzing each picture carefully as she took them out of the box delicately, one by one. Did this happen? Nope.

She just sat there and apologized for not responding to a letter I had previously sent. She said she thought it was a nonprofit trying to get a donation. Prior to meeting her, the adoption agency said to write a letter and that they would mail it to her. Once she received the letter she was supposed to contact me. I ended up calling her a few times until she finally faced reality.

She tried her best that day. She made me dinner and we talked for a bit. She honestly is a very nice lady. She was embarrassed and it was very obvious that I served as a reminder of the many bad memories she had with my biological father. It turns out she had kept four children and gave away myself and two brothers. My father had a daughter with another woman. I definitely didn’t expect that at all but why would anyone keep some of their children; which I still do not get. Anyway, I did get some answers and for that I am thankful.

Stay tuned for more of my blog posts about my experience as an adopted child.

 

A.D.D., A.D.H.D, attention deficit disorder, disabilities, Life!, mental health, Uncategorized

You know you have A.D.D. when…

You know you have A.D.D. when…

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1. You put things that do not belong in the refrigerator.

2. You have said “Where are my keys?” at least 20 times in one day.

3. Your child reminds you where your things are and even helps you with directions!

4. You go on the hunt for your cellphone every.single.goddamn. day.

5. You have been fired or almost fired from a job (in my case three!)-I suck.

6. Piles. Piles. everywhere…

7. You avoid doing boring tasks at all costs.

8. You can clean your house in 2.5 seconds when you know someone is coming over but very rarely do you clean your house.

9. Food shopping takes too much mental effort. You lose the list anyway so what is the point?

10. Eh…. the car….. you swear to yourself that you are going to keep your car clean this time…but…. yea, that never happens.

11. You are SUPER forgetful. Your short term memory is shot.

12. Your long term memory never existed. “Remember that one time when we played football at my house?” “Yeah…Ummm. no sorry.”

13. People always, always ask you to repeat yourself because you tend to mumble.

14. Organization is non-existent. You have all intentions of being organized and really try to implement organizational systems but they seem to always fall through.

15. You pin different organization techniques on Pinterest but that never happens.

16. You fill out your calendar after the fact.

17. You really try to remember appointments in your mind but you tend to forget.

18. Being on time…What is that?

19. You are looking for your debit card only to find out ten minutes later that it is in your cellphone pocket that you bought for that purpose.

20. Your spouse refuses to give you their spare keys because you already have lost the second set.

21. This goes for the spare house key.

22. You have lost count of the many times when you ran out of gas, locked yourself out of the house or locked your keys in the car.

23. You have left your cell on top of your car. Yes, this has happened to me.

24. You go to do something and then totally forget what it is that you were just about to do.

25. You are in search of your phone only to realize that you are actually on your phone.

26. Your work desk looks like a bomb went off on it.

27. You have 10 old deactivated debit cards on your dresser. Each time you lost one, you deactivate it only to find it days later.

28. Where is that damn debit card?!

29. You pay with the deactivated debit card and not the new one. Although you have the new one in your purse, you also have the old one because you forgot to throw it away. It will probably stay in there for quite some time.

30. You hate talking on the phone. Texting is the preferred mode of communication. You will have a breakdown if you feel like you cannot get off the phone.

31. Commitments? Yea, no. What are those?

education, English teacher, Life!, public school, special education, special educator, teach, teacher, teacher life, Teaching, Uncategorized

Parents & Administrators: Teachers Need Your Help now More than Ever!

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I have not always felt this way about students, let alone the teaching profession in general, but, if you do not mind me asking…What is up with high school kids nowadays? I wish I could blame the students for their sense of entitlement, lack of respect and misbehavior, but I can’t. There is, however, a very small percentage of students who are respectful, hardworking and well-behaved and us teachers are truly THANKful. The other percentage of students on the other-hand, well, sorry to say, I can thank their parents and the administration for their behavior. Yup, I said it. 

I never realized how much of an impact a parent has on their child’s behavior and education until I became a mom. I reflect on how I have always raised my daughter and provided her with lots of love. I do not mean to be bias, but she is the sweetest, most thoughtful, empathetic and kindest little girl, and I know I can honestly say, that my parenting has played a major part in how she behaves and performs in school. Now if only I could say the same thing about my students’ parents.

I have been teaching high school Special Education for the past 9 years and based on my own experiences, I have noticed that parents have become less involved, care less and enable their children. Parents support teachers less and less each year. In their eyes, their child can never do any wrong. This attitude makes teachers’ jobs very difficult, stressful and extremely frustrating.

This particular generation of teens lack work ethic, do not take ownership for their behavior and expect grades to be given to them. Why did I “give” you a 64 on your project you ask? No, I did not “give” you a 64, you EARNED it.  

The students feel entitled to run to administration with the belief that they can get their teacher fired or complain ESPECIALLY when their teacher is holding them accountable and have to face consequences for their misbehavior. Now you’re the bully. In their minds they genuinely believe, as do their parents, that they can do no wrong. They continue to believe that they deserve credit for work that they did not do and they KNOW that there are ZERO consequences for misbehavior. They honestly believe that the administrators are their friends and they know that they will only receive a warning.

Cursed the teacher off? Warning. Walked out of class? Warning. Slept in class? Warning. Misbehaved in class? Warning.  

Warning. Warning. Warning.

After school detention, Saturday detention and lunch detention have become a thing of the past. Community service has become an absolute joke and they are lucky if they  even show up.

I also place a lot of blame on the administrators for their lack of discipline, lack of support and their deep-rooted belief that the students are always right.

Ohhh, Jimmy..is your teacher really bullying you in class? Let me investigate this teacher’s behavior and question your classmates.  Let’s get to the bottom of this together.

Are. You. Kidding. Me. Right. Now.

Do you know what REALLY gets to me? Like REALLY drives me nuts? The fact that the administrators are afraid of upsetting parents, especially since the majority of the parents TRULY believe that EVERYTHING is the teacher’s fault.

I will give you a prime example behind the reason why administration are afraid of parents based off one of my encounters with a parent. This year, I called a mom because her child was on his cell phone and was texting another student in my class. My conversation with her went something like this:

Please note: The names that I am about to use are fake in order to protect parenting gone wrong.  #sorrynotsorry

Me: “Hi Mrs. S., this is Mrs.W., I just wanted to  touch base with you regarding Jimmy’s behavior in English.”

Parent: “Um, ok? This is the first time ALL year that I am receiving a phone call like this.”

Me:  *pretends like the parent did not just say that*  “I have noticed a change in Jimmy’s  behavior these past few classes. Today, he was on his cell phone, playing games and texting another student in the same class. He has not been doing his independent reading and his behavior has become very distracting to the other students. I had to redirect him multiple times. I eventually had to move him away from the other students and I took his cellphone.”

Parent: “Very sorry to say, but I find this VERY hard to believe. If this is true, then it is only in YOUR class. Did the other student get their cell phone taken away too?”

Me: *contemplates hanging up* Yes, the other student also received the same consequence. I was hoping you could speak to him regarding this behavior in class.

Parent: “Also, how do you know that he was not reading??”

Me: “Um… well, before I took his cellphone away, he was busy texting and the book was face down on the desk. I had to tell him a few times to put the cell away and read.”

Parent: “Let me ask you this…would YOU read if you were constantly nagged to read? I know I wouldn’t. Sometimes it appears that Jimmy is not reading, when he actually IS reading. How do you know he was texting another boy in class?”

Me: *still contemplates hanging up* *clears throat* “Well, I saw them texting and laughing. Thank you for letting me know how he reads, however, as I informed you, his book was faced down.”

Parent: “You seem very nervous and I can only imagine how you react to the students’ behavior. Don’t you think they are doing this to get a reaction out of you? I am looking at his cellphone bill right now as we speak and it shows that he was not on his cellphone during your class.”

Me: *Fights the urge to hang up* *Patience continues to dwindle* “ I understand your concern, however, I am only informing you of Jimmy’s behavior based on my observation in my class, and I  hope that you can speak with him. I suggest checking the cell phone bill tomorrow morning as it takes about a day to show activity.”

Parent: “Oh, I will and you will be hearing from me tomorrow.” *hangs up phone*

This was one  conversation that I had with a parent VERBATIM. Give or take some other snide remarks that were, I’m not going to lie, quite hurtful!

I am not sure why or when parents began to feel entitled to treat a teacher this way, but sadly, the reality is that 75 % of them do. I can understand why administrators have decided to become more “supportive” and “understanding” but they are truly enabling the parents’ behavior.

Now, I can and probably will eventually write a MUCH more detailed blog post about the how the administrators have contributed to this ongoing epidemic, but I will save you the headache and will only briefly touch upon it. It has become such a problem that I honestly do not know where to begin yet here is a prime example of a conversation I had with a vice principal.

Me: “I was just checking to see that you received my write up for *student’s*  behavior last week? I noticed that he has not received a consequence.”

Vice principal: “Yes, I did receive it and coincidentally just spoke with him today.”

Me: “Oh, ok. Great, thank you. How did it go?”

Vice principal:  “Well, I just gave him a warning. Now,  I know he was disruptive, disrespectful and walked out of your class, however, it could have been that he was having  an “off day. Oh, and before I forget, he said that he felt like you singled him out. Try to be easier on him and reprimand him in private. Let me know if this behavior continues.”

Rigghhhhhhhhhht. An. off. Day. You hit the nail on the freakin’ head.

Note to self: Writing a referral is a  Waste. Of. My. Time. 

Teachers: YOUR TIME IS PRECIOUS.

And THIS, my friends, is exactly WHY teachers are no longer respected, student misbehavior and sense entitlement continues to be an ongoing epidemic.

So, dear fellow teachers, first year teachers and those who are considering entering the teaching profession; it is NOT YOUR fault. You are NOT the problem. NEVER forget all of the reasons why you became a teacher. Most importantly, make it a point to thank the really great kids, supportive parents and administrators. We truly need them the most!

Sincerely yours,

A very frustrated teacher.

 

A.D.D., A.D.H.D, attention deficit disorder, disabilities, Family, Life!, marriage, mental health, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

The Struggle is Real: ADD & Motherhood DO NOT MIX!

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It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted for my blog and I have a very good reason, I promise you! My very last post was approximately written about 3 years ago, yes, I know unacceptable. But please, I beg of you, there is a valid excuse. I became a mom!  In addition to that I have ADD and to throw another responsibility into the mix, I teach Special Education at the high school level. I know, I know, I’m not the only mom out there who has to juggle a multitude of tasks, but to be honest, it’s fucking hard, time-consuming and stressful as hell and I have the utmost respect for those moms who have their shit together. I would give my left leg to have my shit together.

I’m sure many of you non-super-Pinterest-moms out there most likely cannot relate because you are simply amazing, but at least I know that there are other ADD moms out there who can. I’m really going to focus on maintaining my blog because I really need some ” me time.” I honestly don’t care if that sounds the least bit selfish because as a mom, you need that time. My “me”time usually consists of spending time in the bathroom until my three year old, Emma,  begins banging on the door while screaming          “DON’T LEAVE ME MOMMY!” On the top of her fucking lungs! Like seriously I can’t get a moment to breathe. Where the hell does she think I’m going to go? I’m in the bathroom that’s less than a foot away from your room!

I know being a mom with ADD can be super stressful sometimes, (O.K.–most of the time!) but to be quite frank, I would not change it for the world. I love being a mom and the craziness that comes along with the job keeps me on my toes. My daughter is the best thing that has ever happened to me!

Here is a list of my top ten struggles that I face as an ADD mom!!! I hope many of you can relate!

1.I tend to lose a lot of things! There have been MANY instances when I was supposed to fill out a form for Emma’s daycare and I lost the paper–not once, but a few times! Lets just say that I lose my cell, debit card, keys and anything that is considered important on a daily basis. This is an extremely touchy subject for me because losing things causes so much stress in mine and Emma’s life.

2.I am very forgetful! I might forget to bring something to a party at Emma’s school. Sorry kids, I know I signed up to bring in the juice boxes and plates, looks like you will be drinking tap water and eating caveman style! #bannedfromclassparties.  I tend to forget to sign her in and out on the computer at her school in the mornings. I can’t tell you how many times the owner reminds me how this is a safety issue in addition to his way of tracking whether or not I pick her up later than I am supposed to so that he can charge me an additional 5 dollars. I am living off a teacher’s salary for christ’s sake, can’t you cut me a damn break? Those 5 dollars add up quickly. Oh, and filling my gas tank? That is another nightmare. I found myself stranded in the middle of a major highway most recently because I forgot to fill my gas tank!

3.  Did I mention forgetfulness? Don’t get me started. This causes me to be late for EVERYTHING.I lose my keys, forget to grab Emma’s lunchbox or backpack on our way to school in the morning. I have caused us to be locked out of the house for hours. Then when I go to get the spare key that is hidden outside (which my husband hid purposely to prevent this), I suddenly remember that I forgot to put it back in the hiding spot! I forget to pack certain things that Emma may need for school (show and tell items, bathing suit, etc.). Thank god my daughter has a much better memory that I do, she is always there to remind me! “Listen Em, during show and tell, just show everyone your imaginary toy. Then when they say that they cannot see it, tell them they’re nuts). LOL

4.I tend to let her down sometimes. I  forget making promises or plans with her. I am lucky to have such an understanding three-year-old who has developed empathy for my disability.

5.My disorganization and messiness is rubbing off on my daughter and I fear this will continue as she grows up. I have gotten much better over the years because I have learned to stay on top of my piles. I started to put things away throughout the day. However, Emma does not understand the concept of putting her toys away when she is done playing with them nor does she understand the concept of  keeping her room clean. It looks like an explosion went off in her bedroom. There are piles everywhere. Can you say recipe for disaster?

6.Sometimes, I am easily agitated (especially if I forgot to fill my prescription) and when I feel that way, I tend to ignore her or get mad at the smallest things. Especially when she hangs all over me or asks me for something a million times. I fucking LOSE IT!

 7.I tend to lose interest at times when I am engaged in an activity with Emma. This causes her to feel like I am not interested in spending time with her. “Ok, mommy will color with you for a minute.” (one minute into coloring)….. “How about a puzzle now? I have to go do laundry. Sorry kid, looks like you’re on your own.”

8.She really wants a brother or sister, and although I would love to provide her with that, I know I won’t be able to handle the responsibility of having two children. “Sorry Em, it looks like you will have to rely on your cousins for companionship.” Thanks ADD!!

9.Food shopping & cooking!!! I am having some serious anxiety just thinking about this! I could write an entire post solely on the hatred I feel towards food shopping and cooking. THANK GOD my husband is the complete opposite and is like Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen. #lovemyironchef  I fucking hate food shopping and cooking. I just vomitted a little bit in my mouth thinking about it. My heart is literally pounding as a I write this post. When my husband tells me to go food shopping (after we have literally eaten everything in the house), I grit my teeth, nod and smile forcefully. As soon as I enter the grocery store, I am overcome with an instant feeling of panic and confusion. Feelings of anger consume my mind and I shoot nasty texts to my husband. “Why are you making me do this? Is this some sort of punishment?” He has learned to ignore those texts because it is my way of coping. Since I have no system or sense of organization, I just start tossing shit in the cart. When I go to checkout, and the cashier asks for coupons… my answer is always the same “yea.. uhmmmm, I really have to start using those.. if I could only get my shit together”then the cashier asks if I have my savings card… I realize that I lost that a long time ago so I plug in my old cell phone number to retrieve it… because I was too lazy to update the account. And cooking? Do not get me started… Lets just say, it is an absolute nightmare.

10.The one thing that really SUCKS about being a mom and teacher with ADD is getting myself and a toddler ready in the morning, oh, and FORGETFULNESS. Can we say fucking nightmare? My morning consists of hitting the snooze button a thousand times (literally) and rushing around the house like a madman. Dressing my daughter when she is half asleep and having to run to Wawa to buy Emma’s lunch because, well, I didn’t stay on top of the food shopping. On my way out, I realize I forgot Emma’s backpack and run in to get it only to realize I removed my key off my key ring the other day so that I could allow my car to run while I just ran in for something else I forgot. I then go to grab the spare that my husband hid only to find that I forgot to put that back. Sorry Em, looks like you won’t have your blanket or spare clothes today…. make sure you don’t crap your pants and maybe wearing your winter coat is a nice replacement for your blanket during nap-time.

And so here you have it! Just a list that I hope many of you can relate to so that you know you are not alone and that the #struggleisreal

Never forget: You are wonderful and you are doing an amazing job!!!

Family, Life!, mom life, motherhood, parenting, Pregnancy

“You’re (not) Glowing!”

Image result for not glowing quote pregnancyImage result for not glowing quote pregnancy

If I received a dollar for each and every time someone said to me “You’re glowing!” I would be friggin’ rich. Every time someone tells me that I am glowing, I reach for my mirror in a desperate attempt to try to see what it is exactly that the other person is seeing. After taking a quick glance of my pregnant face, I think to myself, “How the HELL am I glowing?” I mean really…… I have acne, a double chin, a chubby face, and a fat ass. Sometimes I think people just say that because they think it is what should be said to all pregnant women. My step mother even got me a shirt that says “You glow girl!” for christ’s sake. And do you think I am actually out there proudly sportin’ that shirt? HELL NO. I sure as hell do not want to attract any more attention to myself than I already receive. When I am out in public, people are constantly gawking at me like I have three heads, like they have never seen a pregnant woman before…. No this is not a beer gut.

Trust me, I am ecstatic and feel blessed that I am pregnant, and I am by no means trying to be cynical… but I just do not see this “glow” that people supposedly see when they look at me…I mean, come on. really…. how the HELL am I glowing?? Is it the extra oil on my face that my pregnant body keeps producing?  I have gained 50 lbs already, my boobs are triple the size they once were, my face has completely filled in, I sweat like a horse, I am always out of breath, I get acne like a hormonal teenager, and my pants are bursting at the seems..lol. I think it is really sweet that people compliment me, but I really wish I could see this so called “glow” that they see because I sure as hell do not see it! lol.

A.D.D., A.D.H.D, attention deficit disorder, blogging, disabilities, Life!, Uncategorized

My Real Excuse for Lack of Blog Posts….

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I apologize to all of my followers for my lack of blog posts, but so much has been going on in my life that posting has been the least that has been on my mind. It is crazy how much your life can change so drastically in the matter of a few months! But what is my real excuse for my lack of blog posts you ask?

Well, as I have previously shared with you on here a few months ago… I was diagnosed with Bipolar and ADD about 5 years ago, and was on medication during that time frame. (Yea, yea, I am crazy and proud of it!) After I lost my job and was beyond depressed (which I did not think was possible since I was on damn antidepressants!), I found out I am pregnant! Yup, that is right! As of right now, I am 19 weeks pregnant and am due at the end of April! Back in August, I was feeling nauseous and tired as hell and I just figured it was because of my depression. That was until I took a pregnancy test and it came out positive! The next day I stopped taking all of my meds cold turkey!!! I know that is dangerous to do, but there is no way I was going to be taking Lamictal, Vyvanse and Lexapro while pregnant! I would be a horrible mother if I fed that to my fetus!! lol. I made the decision that it is more important to have a healthy baby born birth defect free rather than give birth to a baby who is dependent on psychiotic drugs with birth defects. That would absolutely kill me inside!  I have decided that I am strong enough to fight my depression for 9 months for the sake of the baby’s health.

I am not going to lie though.. Not being on my medication has changed my life drastically. Not only does my body have to fight having a mental illness and adjust being med. free… It also has to adjust to the rollercoaster ride of emotions and the crazy change in hormones that coincide with pregnancy. Talk about a freaking nightmare.

As you can see, it has been about 5 months since I have actually posted, and this is because my days pretty much have consisted of sleeping, eating and crying. When you are not on medication when your brain really needs it, it is definitely tough. Medication makes me normal. It also gives me my life back, When I was on my medication, I looked forward to blogging, knitting, photography and creating jewelry. However, when you are a bipolar pregnant woman, you could really care less about anything. The only thing I really cared about was taking care of my growing baby inside me which I truly feel is a gift from god. You know what? I truly feel that god gives us the gift of a child when we truly need it. I have seen this happen so many times to a number of people in my life. It took my husband and I one year until we got pregnant, and it could not have been at a better time.

After losing a job that I loved, I was fighting depression, and knowing that I have something to live for truly gives me a reason to wake up everyday.This baby gives me a reason to live, to take care of myself and to keep looking forward.  I thank god everyday for this blessing.

I only have about four more months left until I can truly feel like myself again, and I am proud of how far I have come. Having a mental illness is definitely a daily struggle, and I have to fight it in order to have a normal day. I never realized that until I saw the sadness in my husband’s eyes when he desperately said to me ” I miss Jess. I miss your smile, your laugh and your happiness.” “I am proud of you for fighting your bipolar and ADD without your medicine, but it has been so tough.” He even made a good point. He said “You cannot stop living your life. You used to laugh so much and smile. You used to enjoy posting on your blog!” He continued, “You are stronger than this! You cannot just sleep all of the time and do nothing. Whether you like it or not, you are a mother right now.”

I looked down at my stomach and it had not clicked in my mind before that moment. He was right. Although the baby is not physically in my arms just yet, I became a mother the moment I conceived and what kind of mother just wastes their days feeling sorry for themselves? I made a promise right then and there that I would fight harder for my husband and our baby.

And so, here I am feeling better after our chat and finally accomplishing a task that I would have normally done when I was feeling like myself. Although I still have a few more months to go before I am myself again, I think the more I fight my illness, keep a normal routine, and do the things I once loved, I will be able to find happiness again without having to rely on medication to alter the chemicals in my brain. Well, there you have it. Prior to this post, my real excuse for my lack of blog posts is all because I have been fighting my depression and Bipolar, but obviously not hard enough. I think this blog post truly shows my commitment to fighting this illness on my own while I attempt to become normal again and gain my life back.