How Are You? 

It’s such a loaded question.

“How are you?”

“I’m in pain. I still can’t drive. I’m pretty sure the anesthesia from my surgeries has caused some major hair loss. A rare reaction, but then I am the Murphey’s Law of patients. And when I tuck my daughter in I have to do it via phone call because she’s in a therapeutic facility. Because we weren’t save when she was home. Because she wasn’t safe. Oh yeah and sometimes I have to ask my husband or son to tie my shoes.”

Ok, it sounds bad, I know. But adopting children from hard places can be…well, hard. And then the rest of life happens.

Let’s try this again.

“How are you?”

“Fine,” I reply. “Getting better every day. I’m working really hard in physical therapy.”

“How is your daughter?”

“She’s working hard in therapy.”

She is. And so am I. Only it’s really slow going.

But that’s not all that is happening. My parents are here with me. They moved halfway across the US to be near my family. Luke and I got to adopt the most amazing kids. We really did.

I have great friends. We have support. And they never give up on me. I have rides. I have encouragement. We are not alone.

And get this, I am a mom! Yeah, that’s me, the proud Mama milking every last moment for family-goodness. Sorry about all the pictures, Facebook. My family is CUTE!

Our son is flourishing. Carl has become a topless chef. Yeah it’s true. He cooks dinner without a shirt. He bakes pies and cakes without a shirt. Who needs an apron?!. We fill our days measuring and mixing in the kitchen. Then we spend the evening playing card games like Uno, Skip-Bo, Monopoly Deal and Exploding Kittens (that last one is, believe it or not, is a real game.)  Oh yeah, and there are no meltdowns. I mean, none. I hope I’m not jinxing this! 

Having peace in the house has had an amazing effect on all of us. We aren’t walking on eggshells. For the most part I’m sleeping at night. And when we visit Mary our time is spent having fun rather than struggling to get through.

The truth is that developmental trauma sucks. It’s an ugly beast. Disorganized attachment patterns suck. Mental illness? It’s so hard. And our daughter deals with all of these things. And we deal with all of these things, too. It kills me that I cannot protect her from any of this. When I became her mom, it had already happened.

So how am I? That’s a tough question. Right now I’m just counting my blessings.

**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

*If you’ve ever struggled with “How are you?” I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


11 thoughts on “How Are You? 

  1. ashley says:

    I can’t remember if I’ve introduced myself before; I don’t remember how I found your blog, but I really value your honest take. I’m physically disabled from birth and my spouse lives with (and sometimes struggles with and often triumphs over) BiPolar disorder.

    If we choose to build a family, it will be through adoption, which is how I got started with adoption blogs.

    Anyway… How are you. That’s a tough one, because sometimes people just don’t want to know.

    How are you?

    I’m stressed about money, my wheelchair is getting older by the minute, [spouse’s name] is trying hard, but struggling with hand tremors and feeling like she doesn’t contribute to our family through income….

    Let’s try that again.

    I’m fine. There is (often) enough money to make it from paycheque to paycheque, [spouse] has more good days than bad days, we live independently and make our own choices.

    Best wishes to you and the chickens as you continue on your journey.

    All the way in Newfoundland, someone who drives a hot pink power chair is rooting for you

    Liked by 1 person

    • This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, Ashley. The struggles are real. But that’s life, and life is precious. Your wife and my daughter share a diagnosis. I’d love to hear more about her as I am hopeful every day for my girl. I’m hopeful someday she will be a happy adult with a supportive spouse and family. One with a hot pink power chair would be the icing on the cake!!!😉


  2. Cynthia Stecker says:

    My husband / the amazing daddy of our three wonderful (adopted) children passed away last Sunday at age 49 after a Vallient battle with his failing body. All of us are like a raw nerve. Our daughter who already had tons of behaviors and PTSD from a very difficult past is a wreck! She in her words “never got to tell daddy she was sorry for being mean to him”‘and she really was. But her daddy loved her no matter what with all that he was. At least she got that for the time he had to give it. So for me how are you is a loaded! Question. I in fact sometimes respond with please don’t ask me that unless you are really ready to KNOW how I am. I don’t think it should be a greeting. I think people should say have a nice day! Just like every time someone says “I’m sorry for your loss” I want to scream! People should say “I’m thinking about you or I’ll keep you in my prayers”! In loving my husband through this really difficult time I gained so much more than I lost but right now when I don’t know how to be me. We were an us for 29 years since we were 20. How am I? Who am I?


    • Cynthia, you are a good person. You are someone who took the time to read and respond to my little blog. You are someone who appears to love unconditionally and without reserve. For what it’s worth, from my corner of cyber space I am thinking of you. I won’t say I’m sorry for your loss. Instead I say that loss sucks big rotten eggs. Its terrible! But you are a beautiful person and you have my prayers. ❤️


  3. C says:

    It’s not only a loaded question. It can be as difficult as a question on the bar exam! For a long time I didn’t have the vocabulary to answer this question. All I had was fine and mad. I had no words to put to my feelings. Even now I have to really think about it. It’s like I mentally go to the library and having to look up what emotions are. Half the time I say fine anyway. I like to avoid lectures on how I am failing at life or being called a complainer. These statements usually come from people who don’t understand that I am still in the making or just don’t understand mental illness. I tried to tell someone about my current struggle with medicaid and that if I lost it I’d be like I was in high school they said after all that therapy and time you aren’t in better control. Answering that question is a gamble and saying fine is the only safe bet. My bipolar is not going away neither is the borderline personality disorder. I know people can recover from the latter. I do not believe I am one of those people. My life is complicated. I am not the one who complicated it. Yet I have to make it work for the sake of others. I do care how you are doing if I ask. If I say I am sending good thoughts your way, I am.


    • You always have the best insight, C! I can’t believe anyone could say those things to you. I’m so sorry for that. I feel like it should be ok to tell the truth, you know? Like “not great,” or, ” today is a tough one. Ask me tomorrow. ”


      • C says:

        I appreciate that. Telling the truth about my diagnoses is so un-ok that I was forced to withdraw from my masters program. A psychology program no less. I believe it’s our over all culture. To ask how someone is like a reflex. I had an excellent sociology professor from South Africa. He said that kids in South Africa do not ask that question to adults because in South Africa that question is answered honestly and the answer isn’t always appropriate for children to hear especially because violence towards women and domestic violence are still big issues there.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. C says:

    Sorry there is no option to reply to you. It’s certainly an interesting point. That professor made so many things make sense. It is terrible what they did but I did my due diligence I filed complaints and sent a letter to the president university. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t advocate for myself. Hopefully that professor gets what coming her.


    • I Love you, I miss you! proud of you for doing that! Don’t apologize, leave comments wherever. Email me if you want to talk further. I’m glad you advocate for yourself. That will help others in your situation. I’m jut mad that it happened to you at all!!


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