As you know, if you've been reading my blog, our friendship with the Coffees (who now have a private blog) was an integral part of our lives in Mankato. They as well as Tim, Sue and Sarah, were an amazing support system. There were also another 10-15 people, unnamed here, who I (or we) spent time with on a regular basis and then a hoard of others who were there whenever we needed them. Tonight we get to spend time with a couple of them who I have blogged about before. We are looking forward to seeing them. We also get to see Tessa and AJ.
Last night we had dinner with new friends/parishioners who I won't name because they might not want me to. But we had great conversation, all of our boys were appropriate and the food was delicious.
On Tuesday afternoon Wilson, Dominyk and I went to visit my friend Deb -- one of the masterminds behind Toolbox Parenting which you should definitely check out. Deb is a trip -- fun, outgoing, and loud (maybe even louder than me sometimes) but a great mix of nurturing and toughness that has served her four children well. She and her husband have four children who were all adopted at young ages and all have FASD. Their oldest, Nick, is so much like our next-to-youngest, Dominyk, that we both laugh constantly as we watch them. In fact, Dominyk did something while we were there that made his younger sister Brittany suddenly raise her hands and make a face of horror and shriek, "He IS Nick, he IS Nick." Dominyk actually saw the humor in it himself as he watched himself. Wilson reluctantly played video games with their son Tom.... (reluctance on the with Tom part, not the video game part -- he's trying to make a point that there are no cool people in the Twin Cities). Deb had some staff their so she and I snuck off for some Dunn Brothers... We all had fun.
Kari and I have been teasing each other about finding new BFFs.. but the truth of the matter is that nobody can replace her and I don't need anyone to. But I do know the value of relationships and support when raising tough kids. We have been building a team of friends/support people since the early days and most of them are still our friends even if we only see them once and a while.
The trick of relationships in this busy day and age is that you have to be intentional.... VERY intentional. Planning is crucial and if you don't take time to develop friendships, they won't happen. Attend a support group or a church that has other adoptive families (hint, hint, Bart's first Sunday at Brunswick is this week -- 9:30 a.m. service. If you come you can meet Isaac in person cuz his mom and he are coming and spending Saturday night).
I encourage you to make it a point not to be isolated. Sometimes our kids behaviors push us into a very strange world that is void of good relationships and it's not healthy. Make those new friends, keep those old friends, build that team of people and make life more interesting, more fun, and easier to handle. You'll be glad you did.
I'd love to hear comments about others of you who have made friends that have made your journey more bearable....