Martini Time

Martini Time

November 7, 2014

Broken Heart and Empty Arms: An Adoption Story

I moved to Georgia from Indiana by myself in December 2001. By February 2002, I started dating Peter. I felt so alone in a new place and Peter gave me all the attention in the world. It felt like a wonderful adventure in a new phase of my life. I felt free.

In week three of our relationship, he moved into my one bedroom apartment, he begged me to quit my job and he wouldn't allow me to call my friends or family. But Peter continued to show me the attention that no one else was showing me, so I obliged. At least I wasn't alone, I convinced myself.

By the end of the month, my bank account was empty because Peter always knew which horse to pick at the track and God forbid he used his own money. My rent was late, neither of us had a job, and I was getting yelled at, at minimum, twice a day. I felt so trapped, like I had nowhere to run. But I wasn’t alone. So I stayed.
On my 21st birthday, 5 weeks into our relationship, Peter barely acknowledged that I was alive. I had to do his laundry in the sink because I wasn’t allowed to leave the house. When I cried, no matter how silently, he threw something at me so I would stop. For dinner, we went to the track where he spent all of my birthday and rent money on bets. I wasn’t allowed to eat in public but was made to watch him sloppily devour his salmon and wild rice.

Three days later, after losing more of my money at the track and just before finishing a bottle of whiskey, Peter, unprovoked, put a gun to my head and said words that, to this day, I still have nightmares about: “If I ever find out you’re pregnant with my child, I will kill you dead right after I kill the bastard child inside you.” Then he swiftly backhanded me.
It was then that the grave reality of my situation finally hit me. Quite literally.

I threw whatever I could reach in Peter’s direction. I grabbed his keys to take back my house and car keys. I took his wallet to take back my ATM card and the little money he had left. Then I told him to get out of my house and never come back. He was so startled that I stood up to him that he just left; no questions asked. But I knew I wouldn't be safe for long.

I packed up my apartment in less than two hours. I gave my landlord all the money I could spare and promised him that more would be sent in a few days (and it was). Without looking back, I got in my car and drove from Georgia to Indiana in less than two days. I was so afraid I was being followed that I only stopped to use the restroom and get gas.
I moved home in late March 2002. I tried to get back in the swing of things but it was close to impossible. Peter found me and he called all the time but would only breathe on the other end. He never said a word. I didn’t feel safe in my own house and it wasn’t fair to involve my Dad in a mess I allowed to happen. I had to leave.

In June 2002, I moved to the East Coast to live with my grandmother, I changed my phone number, closed my bank account, cancelled my credit cards and started over. I got a job, registered for school and eventually made some friends. Everything was fine. I was healthy and I was starting to feel human again. Peter had no idea where I was now. I was safe. Or so I thought.
In July 2002, I woke up doubled over in pain. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink, and I could barely breathe. I went to my doctor and she immediately did an ultrasound on my kidneys and liver. She was certain I had a kidney infection. Four days later, the doctor called and said, “Congratulations! You’re twenty-two weeks pregnant. Please come in for a consult as soon as possible. Goodbye.”

Pregnant. With Peter's child. The one he threatened to kill before I ran away.
I have never been more terrified. I didn’t know who to call, what to say when I did call someone, or how to feel. My thoughts were racing at unimaginable speeds:

I'll have to run again because, surely, Peter will find out.
No, I can't run. I have nowhere to run TO.
I need to tell someone.
No, I can't tell anyone. What if they tell someone?
Abortion. That's it. I'll go immediately.
No, I can't do that. I could never live with myself.
Dad. I need to call my Dad.
No, I can't call him. He'll be so disappointed.
Benny! My good friend, Benny. That's it. I'll call him.
So I did.

I used to babysit for Benny's children before I moved to Georgia. He was also a close friend of my Dad after working together for years. I knew I could trust him. He let me cry, even when he couldn't understand me, and he listened to me for what felt like hours. He convinced me to sit tight, take a deep breath and call my Dad.
My Dad has always been my biggest supporter in everything I have ever done. I have never disappointed him. Until the day I told him I was pregnant. Albeit disappointed, he promised to support me however he could.

I found a doctor who was able to see me right away. We learned that although I had been unaware of the pregnancy for the first five months, the little person growing inside of me was healthy. As I watched the heartbeat flutter on the screen next to my head, the vicious and cold-hearted threat from Peter rang in my ear. I knew I had to find a way to hide this baby, to protect it, in any way possible.
After considering moving away to hide, I ultimately decided to pursue adoption. Benny, and his wife Katie, called to check on me a week after my desperate cry for help. When I told them I was going to check into adoption agencies, I could almost see their eyes light up through the phone. They explained that they were considering adoption for some time and would love to talk more about it with me. In an instant, with one sentence, I could feel the weight of the world lifted right off my shoulders. It was almost as if adoption was choosing me; not the other way around.

Over the next few months, we found out the baby was a boy. Katie and I talked a couple times a week. Benny would check in now and then. My Dad and Grandmother helped take care of me. Lawyers were talked to. Plans were made. It was all happening around me and I never shed a tear. Nothing was sinking in. All I knew was that I agreed to give away my first born because of an evil man that scared me.
For the last few weeks of the pregnancy, I moved back to Indiana where Benny and Katie lived. I went to meetings with lawyers, I saw a new doctor, and I got to know Katie much better. We went to lunch, we went shopping, we talked and, ultimately, we became friends.

On November 5, 2002, with Katie by my side, the doctor decided it would be best to schedule an induction. We chose November 7th and then it happened: Reality. Two days. I had two days to prepare to make the biggest and most final decision of my life. Of his life. Of their lives. It was all on me. Granted, I was confident in my decision and I knew it was the best choice; not for me, necessarily, but for my son. Yet, I was still very unsure. What if I could do this? He hasn't contacted me in months!
The morning of November 7th, Katie drove me to the hospital. After twelve hours of very comfortable labor, the doctor told me I wasn’t progressing as fast as he would like and we should consider a cesarean section. We were sure everything would turn out as planned so we decided to wait. I should have known that nothing happens as it’s planned.

Around 11:00pm on the evening of November 7th, the doctor came in to see how I was. Within two minutes of his exam, I was prepped for a C-section. The baby’s heart beat was irregular because his head was stuck on top of my pelvic bone. I was given enough time to say goodbye to my Dad and Benny before Katie and I were off to the operating room. By 11:55pm, my beautiful baby boy was born. My perfect, healthy, blue-eyed baby boy was here. They swept him away to clean him up and check his vitals and at 12:15am, I held him for the very first time. What an indescribable feeling that moment was.
The next four days in the hospital were a blur. I was so heavily medicated that I can barely remember leaving the operating room. All I remember is holding my baby as much as I possibly could. MY baby. He was still mine.

Katie stayed with us and bonded with him in the most perfect and instantaneous way. That’s when I saw it. That’s when I knew. He wasn’t mine anymore. He was ours. We discussed names for our boy but I loved the name she chose the second I heard it: Jared Scott.
On November 11, Jared and I were discharged from the hospital together. It wasn’t until that evening, when I said goodbye to him, that the reality and weight of the situation became apparent to me. He wasn't mine anymore. He wasn’t ours anymore. He was their baby. My boy was her boy.

The next morning, Katie and Benny picked me up for our appointment at the courthouse. The more I tried to prepare myself, the harder it became. So I decided to shut everything off and speak when spoken to and sign where I was told to sign. And that's just what I did. For nine days, I tuned out the world around me. The sweet boy that was going home with his new family every night never took my last name and he could never be traced back to me. Eventually the birth certificate with me on it would be replaced. It was as though it never even happened.
He was free.

Today, that sweet baby boy is a handsome young man. He’s athletic and smart. He’s friendly and caring. He’s funny and charming. Above all else, he’s safe, happy and loved so deeply by his family. I have never once, nor will I ever, regret the decision I made to protect my son; even now, as I raise two children of my own. I may still remain with a broken heart and empty arms, but I know he was never mine; he was meant to be theirs.
Happy 12th Birthday, sweet boy, from your Birthmother.

*All names and locations have been changed to respect the privacy of the parties involved.
*I am sharing my story in honor of National Adoption Month.
*If you or someone you know is a victim of Domestic Violence, there are resources to help. It's never too late:

October 26, 2014

To My Hero, on his Birthday

In a job interview recently, I was asked, "Who do you consider to be your hero and why?" I realized that over the years, my answer has always been the same. It was never an athlete or a superhero. It wasn’t my favorite person of the moment. I never thought twice about my answer growing up.

As a child, my answer was playful: "My Daddy is my hero because he gives me piggy back rides and plays games with me."
As a teenager, my answer was a little less, well, childlike: "My Dad is my hero because he's strong and helps me when I don't know the answer on my homework."
As a young adult, my maturity began to show as I said, "My Pops is my hero because he's in the military and he loves his children and his country even when it doesn't seem like they love him back."
As an adult, when asked who I consider to be my hero, my answer was different. This time, my heart was swollen with pride and I had to choke back the tears before I could confidently give my answer. Because this time, I’m a parent. So this time I get it.
I get what it feels like to love a little person so deeply that you ache.
I get what it means to sacrifice so much of yourself so that your family is cared for.
I get how hard it is to see your child hurt or sick or sad without being able to fix it.
I get how it feels when your child says they hate you for the first time. But I’ll never forget the day I heard “I love you” for the first timer, either.
I get how much work it takes to make sure your kids have what they need without them ever knowing how much work it takes for you to give them everything they need.
I get the struggle of long nights and early mornings with endless work days and no breaks in between.
I get that it is totally and completely worth it; every whine, every tantrum, every diaper, every fever, every hug, every kiss, every smile.
I get that everything I do, I do for them.
I get that everything he did, he did for us.
So, who is my hero?
My father is my hero. He always has been and he always will be. He is the only person that I can trust my heart and soul with. He is the only person I can depend on to take away my fear and doubt before they take me away. He is the first man who ever loved me without question. Beyond putting his own needs aside for my brother and me, he has proudly and honorably served his country for almost 35 years and has sacrificed more for our safety, freedom and daily livelihoods than Hollywood could ever try to portray in a two hour feature film. He is a compassionate and strong man that has taught me morals and values that are surpassed only by his faith. He has made me who I am today and he is who I can only hope to be like in the future.
Thank you, Dad. Truly, thank you. Not only for being my hero, but for teaching me how to be the same for my kids. We couldn't ask for a better Dad, Father-in-law or Grandpa!
Happy Birthday!

September 15, 2014

Stay Connected and WIN with myCharge!

The kids are back to school, but Moms know that's only the beginning! Now that the school year is in full swing, there's no slowing down. In fact, things can start getting pretty hectic this time of year between your work and your kid's homework, after-school clubs and sports, music lessons and carpools, birthday parties and play dates...the list goes on and on!

Even the most organized Mom will tell you things can change at the last minute, and Moms of all people can't afford to run out of power...we mean for your phone or tablet, of course! myCharge knows how important it is for you to stay charged and connected all day - and all school year - long, so they're giving the gift of portable power so you're never left in the red!

To keep you charged and connected myCharge is giving 3 lucky winners each an iPad mini with a myCharge HUB 6000 portable charger! The amazingly compact Hub 6000 features built-in cables and connectors for smartphones, tablets, e-readers and more. Get up to 27 hours of additional talk time for your devices, as well as integrated, quick-charge wall prongs. The Hub series is commonly known as the “Swiss Army Knife of portable power devices.

Additionally, 40 (FORTY!!) winners will each receive an Energy Shot compact portable charger for their smartphones that delivers an additional boost when you need it most. They come in a variety of styles and can give you up to 10 hours of talk time! (Please note, smart phone not included in giveaway).

So Moms, stay out of the red this school year! myCharge is here to keep you charged and connected! For more information on products visit the myCharge website or follow them on Facebook. You can find myCharge products available at retailers such as Target and Kohl's.

Fill out the entry form below September 15, 2014 - October 15, 2014 for your chance to be one of 40 winners to receive an Energy Shot Charger (10 winners randomly selected each week) and one of 3 grand prize winners randomly selected on October 15, 2014 to receive one iPad Mini with a myCharge HUB 6000 portable charger. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age or older, must live in the United States and have a valid shipping address. See giveaway form for complete list of rules and details.

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This is a sponsored post from myCharge. Mommy Needs A Martini is not responsible for prize distribution.

August 14, 2014

Another AMAZING Giveaway from Boogie Wipes!

In celebration of Great Grape Boogie Wipes being sold at Walmart, I'm teaming up with Boogie Wipes to offer the Great Grape Summer Giveaway!

It's a Great Grape Summer celebration! Enter to Win a $50 Walmart gift card and a Boogie Wipes prize pack. One winner each week for the next 3 weeks. Enter now!

One winner will be drawn each week for the next three weeks and will receive a $50 Walmart gift card and a Boogie Wipes prize pack.

How to Enter

From following some of our favorite bloggers on social media to instagramming a picture of your Great Grape purchase at Walmart, there are dozens of ways to enter - and a few ways to enter every single day.

Check back throughout the next three weeks to enter again and see if you won!

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Want to have more fun this summer?

Visit the Boogie Wipes blog for all sorts of summer fun ideas - including Sidewalk Chalk Recipes, Crafts and Games to Play with Pool Noodles and DIY Board Games (for when it rains).

Good luck!

Giveaway is live Tuesday, July 8, 2014 until midnight on Tuesday, September 2, 2014. US and Canada residents only. One winner will be chosen each week and will be notified via email. Mommy Needs A Martini received no compensation for sponsoring this event, and is not responsible for the delivery of the prize. Prize delivery is the sole responsibility of Boogie Wipes.

August 8, 2014

Back to School! Back to School!

Slowly but surely, the "Back to School" posts are popping up on social media - parents everywhere, REJOICE! My oldest daughter starts Pre-K this year, which isn't exactly school since it's still at our daycare, but she is excited just the same! And I'm a little weepy. Oh, shush...

Of course, with a new school year comes new germs. So, I'm teaming up with Boogie Wipes to offer an awesome Back-to-School Giveaway for kids AND moms!

Back-to-School giveaway from Boogie Wipes. Three winners will win a backpack and mommy clutch - full of school supplies, gift cards and Boogie Wipes. Ends August 22. Enter now!

Three lucky winners will receive a backpack stocked with school supplies (and Boogie Wipes) and a Mommy Clutch - full of everything moms needs (including gift cards!)

How to Enter

From following Boogie Wipes on social media to instagramming a picture of your favorite Boogie Wipes products, there are dozens of ways to enter - and a few ways to enter every single day!

Complete the form below to get started.

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Looking for Great Back-to-School Ideas?

Visit the Boogie Wipes blog for six back-to-school ideas for parents, plus a coupon to save on your favorite Boogie Wipes products.

Great back to school ideas for parents. Must read!

Good luck!

Giveaway is live Tuesday, August 5, 2014 until midnight on August 22, 2014. US and Canada residents only (excluding Quebec). Three winners will be randomly chosen and notified via email. Mommy Needs A Martini received no compensation for sponsoring this event, and is not responsible for the delivery of the prize. Prize delivery is the sole responsibility of Boogie Wipes.

July 22, 2014

It's Time To Try Something Different

As a mom of two young toddlers, taking them in public often feels daunting. I will almost always opt for quick take-out as opposed to sitting in a restaurant. If I’m given the option to grocery shop alone, I take it. There’s a sitter available during my appointment? Sold.

Don’t get me wrong; I love being with my kids and I’m not trying to pawn them off. It’s just HARD. It’s hard to keep them entertained, occupied, calm, engaged and behaved in a public setting. Not because they’re bad or unruly kids, but because everyone else thinks they are. Correction: I think everyone else thinks they are. Therein lies the problem, you see. It’s not my kids; it’s my own parenting insecurity.
Over the weekend, I brought my four year old to the store with me. Admittedly, it was just before lunch and nap, she just sat through church relatively quietly, and she was not excited about waiting in line with me. So, I let her be-bop around the displays near the line while keeping her within my reach. She would pick something up and put it back nicely. She would tell me to look at the pretty thing she found. She was behaving. But then she started to drift further away.
I called to her to stay close and she gave me that look. You know, the “I’m going to test my limits” look. I stepped closer to her, keeping one toe in line, but couldn’t reach her. I turned to the woman behind me with a smile and asked if I could jump back in line after retrieving my wandering toddler. She rolled her eyes and said, “I suppose!” as she waved me off. I could feel my face turn red as I gasped at her reply so I quickly picked up the testing toddler and continued to hold her while waiting. This, of course, only made matters worse.

In an instant, I stripped my child of her newfound independence. Not because she was misbehaving, but because a stranger made me feel like she was a bother. She started pushing herself away from me, climbing out of my arms like a scared puppy, her whines became louder and she ultimately started to cry. Full blown tantrum mode ensued. Simply because I was concerned with other people’s perception of her behavior.

On our way out, a cashier said to me loudly, “Hey, Mom! That looks like ADHD to me. My kid is 14 so I know it when I see it. You oughta’ get that kid checked out!” I pretended to half listen to her but chose not to engage the label maker she was trying to be. I needed to get my daughter to a quiet place.
We both left the store frazzled for different reasons; but upset just the same. Neither of us spoke during the drive because I was embarrassed and she was angry. When we arrived at our house, I turned to the backseat to see a frowning kid with her arms crossed staring pensively out the window. I told her we should talk about what happened and she erupted into tears saying, “Mommy! I wasn’t even naughty! I could see you! I wasn’t even touching the breaky things! Why did you have to hold me like a baby?! I’M FOUR NOW!”

Once I picked my heart up off the floor, I did my best to explain to her that she wandered too far away and I had to leave the line to pull her closer so she was safe. What I didn’t tell her was the truth: I was embarrassed by the judging eye roll of the woman behind us. But I shouldn't have been.
At that moment, I made a mental promise to myself (and to my kids) to allow them to just be kids in public. I need to allow them a little bit of freedom, within reason, in public so they learn what is and isn’t appropriate behavior. The only problem I had with this promise was I didn’t know how to make it happen. They couldn’t experience the freedom properly if I wasn’t teaching it properly.
Thankfully, I’ve been fortunate enough to discover MomAssembly recently. Co-founded by Jill Spivack and Jen Waldburger, this site has been my go to place for the tough parenting situations that nobody warned me about. With nearly 50 courses available and more being added weekly, they cover topics ranging from birth to five years, all taught by hand selected parenting experts. And for those on the go, MomAssembly is available to view from your tablet or mobile device as well, picking right up where you left off when you change devices.

After my experience at the store, I scoured the site for answers and found a course called “Raising ChildrenThat Other People Like To Be Around” taught by author and blogger Richard Greenberg. He has raised four children with his wife and recently wrote a book by the same name. His parenting theory is to be S.M.A.R.T. in raising your children. Sure, it’s not foolproof, but his theory is relatively simple to follow:
You can check out a clip of this lesson below:

If you’d like to see more of Richard’s lessons and others offered on the site, MomAssembly subscriptions are available monthly for $7.99 or you can pay annually for $3.99/month. Either way, you get unlimited access to the entire library of expert video classes.
And because I love my subscription SO much, I've partnered with MomAssembly to give TEN of my readers their first month FREE! There is no drawing or raffle for this – just be one of the first ten to sign up for your subscription HERE to receive your free month! 
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some toddler taming to do!

I was compensated for this post but all experiences and opinions are true and my very own.

July 1, 2014

Ohhh, this kid...!

May I present to you, my future superstar in all her glory! All lyrics were made up on the spot, she does not take singing or guitar lessons and her very calm scolding at the end was not scripted. This is my 4yo, to a tee!

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