Sunday, June 30, 2013
Goodbye Google Reader, Hello Bloglovin
Google Reader will be no more as of tomorrow.  I'm sad to see it go.  I was frantically bookmarking all of my favorite blogs until I figured out what to use as a replacement to Google Reader, when I stumbled across a blogger who mentioned bloglovin'. 

When I checked into bloglovin', I was thrilled with how easy it was to migrate all of my Google Reader followings into bloglovin' with the click of a link!

Hurray, before it's too late, go migrate your blogs to bloglovin'!

And of course, I'd love it if you'd follow me.  I'll do my best to do a bit more blogging, here and there.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

posted at 5:47 AM
0 comments


Friday, September 07, 2012
In the swing of school
School is in full swing now and Snuggle Bug and Boo are doing great!

Both of our kids attend a Montessori school and I love how this school places a large emphasis on kindness and respect to others, involvement in our community and using good manners.  I feel as though the school reinforces what we try to teach at home.

Boo loves, loves, loves Kindergarten!  Each day she when I pick her up from school she chatters excitedly about what she's done and who she's played with.  It's never a chore to get her to go to school.  She actually asks on the weekends when she gets to go back.

Snuggle Bug is adjusting to 2nd grade.  He likes his teachers and they're easing him into the school work and homework so it's not too difficult yet.  I'm trying not to pass on my procrastinating tendencies to my children, so I've established a routine of sitting down each day to do a little bit of homework.  He did make the comment, "There are a lot more rules in 2nd grade!"  I had to laugh at that comment.

Both Snuggle Bug and Boo are part of the swim team so we're at swim team practice 3 to 4 times per week.  That makes for a busy week.  We look forward to the weekends!

Despite the daily hustle and bustle, I find myself thankful that my children are still young and under our roof where I know they're safe and I get to tuck them in to bed each night!

I am truly blessed!

posted at 7:39 AM
1 comments


Thursday, August 16, 2012

It's time for the kiddos to head back to school and they're both excited!  Boo is entering Kindergarten and Snuggle Bug is starting 2nd grade.

Boo had her "meet the teacher" night last night.  She was so animated and outgoing, not at all afraid.  She's really ready for school.  Snuggle Bug has his "meet the teacher" night tonight.  He's come out of his shy shell so much these past two years that I know he'll do fine.  He has two good friends that are in his new classroom this year so that will help.

I must admit, I'm rather shocked at the long school supply lists that we were given.  We're not being asked just to buy supplies for our children, but for the classroom as well (napkins, forks, spoons, dry eraser markers, etc).  I spent well over $100 for the two kids, just in school supplies.  That doesn't factor in clothing or shoes.  Oy heh!  Still, with the horrible cuts our state is making to the education budget, they have to turn to the parents to help pick up the slack.  It's a shame though.

I love that my kids love school.  I'm hoping that doesn't change anytime soon because they have many years of school ahead of them and then it's off to college if I have my way!

On another note, I always wondered how I'd handle the adoption issue when the kids entered into school.  I wondered if there'd be a adoption box on the school registration form that I would have to check (there wasn't).

When Snuggle Bug first began school, I didn't volunteer the adoption information.  I shared it with close friends but that was all.  Over the past two years, as we've had more conversations with him about his adoption, we've shared the fact that both of our children were adopted with more people at school and now most of the teachers and some of the families in our school know.  Our school is wonderful and nurturing so it's been a positive experience thus far!

As for the specifics of their adoption, I don't share a lot of detail, other than the age at which we adopted them.  I feel that it'll be up to Snuggle Bug and Boo to decide how much detail to share.

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posted at 11:08 AM
1 comments


Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Flying home for a nice, long visit!
The kids and I are flying back home to where my side of the family lives (in the Midwest) and we couldn't be more excited! Oronzo has to stay here and work, but he doesn't mind. I think my large, boisterous family is somewhat overwhelming to him at times.

Extended family has always been important to me and I want it to be important to my children, especially since they were adopted. It's possible that I work extra hard to maintain those extended family connections, even with the distance, so that my kids feel connected to our families. I believe the fact that her son would be a part of a large extended family was appealing to Snuggle Bug's birth parents. I'm not sure if it mattered to Boo's bio mother either way.

The kids are finally to an age where they are remembering all of their relatives and beginning to understand how everyone is connected (i.e. their grandmother is my mother, their aunt is my sister). It warms my heart to hear the excitement as they talk about this upcoming visit. They can't wait to see their 8 cousins! They've been marking the days off the calendar for about a month now.

We're flying back home for 10 days! I'm pulling Snuggle Bug out of school. My father's health is quite fragile right now so I feel it's important for them to see him, possibly one last time. Thankfully, Snuggle Bug's teachers are understanding and are sending homework with us so that he won't get behind.

Two more days until we board the airplane that will take us to my family!! I can't wait!!!

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posted at 9:51 AM
4 comments


Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Baby fix!
Oronzo and I made the decision some time ago that our family is complete with the two wonderful children we are parenting. Snuggle Bug is now 7 years old. Boo is now 5. They're finally becoming more independent and self reliant and we're enjoying this stage of parenting.

Still, there will always be a part of me that loves tiny babies so I was thrilled to get an unexpected baby fix today!

Our friends, who are in the process of adopting a newborn, brought their little guy home from the hospital this morning and honored us with a visit later in the day.

How wonderful it was to hold a sweet newborn in my arms once again. Isn't he beautiful!

It's been gratifying to be a source of support for our friends as they navigate the unchartered waters of their adoption journey. They've come to us with questions and concerns, asked our advice and used us as sounding boards along the way, just as certain friends did for us during our adoption journey. Our conversations have reminded us of the magical time we had with Snuggle Bug's adoption and taking him home from the hospital as a newborn.

We now have a connection with this couple, common ground that we weren't expecting when we first met them. I'm thankful for that.

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posted at 8:07 PM
3 comments


Sunday, March 04, 2012
Easing back into blogging
I've decided I miss this blog. I miss the bloggers I used to be in frequent contact with. Perhaps I should carve out a bit of time each week for blogging and whip this blog back in to shape. What do you think?

In case any of you were wondering, our friends did not adopt Giselle's baby. Giselle decided to parent her and from what she tells me, they're doing pretty good.

But when God closes a door, he opens a window. Our friends, who had hoped to adopt Giselle's baby, are right now in the hospital with another newborn, a match from the agency they completed their home study with just a couple of months ago. It was a rather quick match!
They hope to bring this baby boy home in about two days and finalize his adoption as soon as they are allowed. They are a bit in shock that it all happened so quickly, but thrilled, of course. I haven't met the little guy yet, but I hope to soon.

So, even though I won't have in-person contact with Snuggle Bug's younger biological sibling, at least there's still a newborn baby in town to hold. I do love holding babies!

Hope you all are doing well!

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posted at 8:09 PM
3 comments


Wednesday, November 02, 2011
A shocking phone call
I received an unexpected phone call not long ago, from Giselle's mother.

I was shocked when she broke down and cried, telling me that Giselle is pregnant again and is unable to parent the baby. She asked if Oronzo and I would want to adopt this baby, that's due in one month!!

I was not at home at the time I received the call and after ending the lengthy conversation with, "I need to talk to Oronzo and I'll call you back," I drove quickly home to do just that.

It was tempting to think of adopting again, believe me, it was. Although Oronzo and I are happy with the two beautiful children we are raising right now, there's always more room in my heart for one more, especially for a biological half-sibling of Snuggle Bug's.

But after Oronzo and I talked about it, he made it very clear that all we went through to adopt the two children we now have was more than enough for him. I asked him to sleep on it and discuss it again the next morning, and he did, but his feelings didn't change. He is done building our family.

I felt a bit sad but knew that it was important to respect his feelings. I must be honest with myself and admit that I agree with him. I feel done with building our family as well for many reasons.

The kids are finally getting to the age where they're a bit more independent and we're enjoying this. There are financial considerations, since we want our children to attend college and we're saving for them. And lets face it, we're not getting any younger. We started out as "older" parents even with Snuggle Bug (we adopted him in our late-30's).

And so, I called Giselle's mother back and explained why adopting again is not right for our family. She said that she certainly understood and asked us if we knew of any other family that might be interested. As a matter of fact, we do!

I've made friends with the parents of a little boy in Snuggle Bug's class and during our budding friendship this mother has shared with me their struggles to adopt a second child.

So, to make a long story short, I've put this family in touch with Giselle and her mom. They've sent a photo scrapbook and the two families are at the "feeling each other out" stage.

I don't know if this adoption will happen or not, but if it does I think it'll be pretty neat to have some possible contact with Snuggle Bug's biological sibling living in the same city.

Time will tell.

Has anyone else been asked to adopt a second time by their child's birth parents?

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posted at 7:35 PM
5 comments


Tuesday, August 30, 2011
1 year anniversary for Boo
One year ago today was a very happy day, indeed.

One year ago today, Boo legally became a part of our family. The courts finally recognized what we knew all along, that Boo belonged with us.

This past year has been a year of transition for us. We moved to another state, near the ocean. Snuggle Bug and Boo entered into a Montessori school (Snuggle Bug is now in 1st grade, Boo is still preschool until next year). Oronozo started a new job.

It's taken some time to get settled and we're certainly missing family and friends from back home, but we're happy hear near the ocean.

Live is peaceful in this small, costal town. The people are friendly and we've managed to make some good friends during the past year. Having children in school helps make those connections.

We now own a 27' sailboat, so we are out on the water a lot. Just yesterday we had a dolphin swimming next to our boat for quite a while, popping up frequently, as if to say, "Hi!" That was an amazing experience to see a dolphin up close and personal.

We had friends from back home come visit this summer and they mentioned how much more relaxed we look. The easing of stress will do that for you.

It's been wonderful just to be a family without the drama and the constant barrage of contact from the foster care system.

Boo is doing great! She's growing tall, she's getting smarter every day. She's sassy and outgoing. She's a beautiful child. In short, she's perfect!

We haven't heard anything from her birthmother since the day she voluntarily relinquished her rights during a phone conference with us last year. There's been no response from the picture and letter update that I sent out so I'm not sure she even received it. I'll try again soon.

So, that's what's going on with us. Hope all is well with you!

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posted at 3:22 AM
7 comments


Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Life is good!
It's been over 7 months since I last posted here but this blog is like a comforting, old friend that I'll keep coming back to from time to time,

A lot has been going on since we finalized Boo's adoption. For one thing, we moved...like the day after Boo's adoption! Oronzo was offered a job in another state and we felt it was worth the move.

It was hard leaving family and dear friends to move to a small town area where we knew no one, but I was confident that we'd make friends quickly. I'm a rather social person.

The biggest appeal to the town were we live is that it's a mere 5 minute drive from the ocean! In fact, we can bike to the ocean from where we live. It's incredible!

We've settled in nicely to this community and we've already begun to make new friends. It helps that Snuggle Bug is in Kindergarten. I think all of our new friends are parents of children at the elementary school.

The move has been good for our family. It's given us a fresh start. We went through so much emotional turmoil to get Boo adopted that we really felt that a change would be refreshing. We were right. Snuggle Bug and Boo have adjusted quite well to the move, far better than we ever hoped for.

Somehow, our family feels more at peace now with this new adventure. We are enjoying exploring our new surroundings.

I know part of our peace comes is due to the release of stress of wondering each day of whether or not Boo would be taken from us. Now she is a permanent part of our family and we're so thankful.

I sent an update to Boo's bio mother after Boo's adoption. I mailed it to an address that she told me would always be a place to get mail to her, regardless of her circumstances. I never heard a word back from her. I'll try again in the future.

As of now, life is good, very good. I hope all is well with you.

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posted at 3:23 AM
6 comments


Monday, September 27, 2010
Boo's adoption has been finalized!
The day we've been waiting for for approximately 2 1/2 years, give or take a month or two, finally arrived!

We recently finalized the adoption of Boo and she is now legally our daughter! Of course, we've considered her a part of our family pretty much from day one but now it's legal. There is no longer any threat of her being taken away from us.

As you all know, this has proven to be a much more difficult journey towards adoption than we expected. We entered into Foster Care training rather naively. We were quite optimistic in the outcome of adoption through the Foster Care system, believing that we'd have a child adopted within a year.

We also believed that we'd be adopting a child from unfit parents that had had their parental rights forcefully terminated by the State. In some ways, perhaps it helped us feel less guilty about wanting to adopt again, because we believed we'd be adopting a child truly in need of a loving home...a child right within our city.

Baby Bug was our first placement and we lost our hearts to her quickly. She was reunited with her parents 8 1/2 months later and, although we supported that decision because we knew how hard they worked to get her back, we grieved A LOT. I still miss her and I had to grieve all over again when her parents chose to end all contact with us a second time.

Our continued journey through the Foster Care system with Boo was very little like we expected. We were lied to by the initial social worker, who told us what she thought we wanted to hear, in order to get Boo placed in our home. It wasn't until I attended the next court hearing, a couple of months after her placement, that I realized how much the social worker had lied and kept information to us.

We tried desperately not to get our hopes up about adopting Boo, as we waited to see how things would pan out with her bio mom who was incarcerated. We waited, and waited, and waited for the judge to make a decision, either way.

We did our best to be "good" foster parents, attending all court hearings, filling out all necessary forms, speaking up inside and outside of the court and advocating for Boo's needs along the way, being careful to follow all guidelines put forth by the foster care agency we were licensed through.

After many months, we got the severance ruling that we had prayed for, due to the instability of Boo's bio mom and her criminal lifestyle. But then, against all odds, the Court of Appeals overturned that ruling on a technicality and threw the case back to the Juvenile Court system and told the new judge to "start over". That's when talks began in earnest of having Boo transferred out of state. It seemed that our state wanted to "wash their hands" of the situation, regardless of what that meant to Boo.

We had to hire our own lawyer to gain "party status" in the case and fight even harder for Boo's rights.

In the end, Boo's bio mom made the difficult decision to admit that she was incapable of offering Boo the stability she needed and deserved and voluntarily severe her parental rights so that we could adopt her. Everyone involved in the case felt that we would've gotten another severance ruling again, even had she not come to this conclusion on her own, but we didn't trust "the system".

The events leading up to Boo's adoption have been nightmarish. We lost a lot of sleep, our marriage was strained, our finances were strained with unexpected legal fees, our family struggled, we doubted ourselves. But, we hung in there, we fought for this precious little girl, and now she's forever an important part of our family!

Boo's Adoption Day was glorious! We had a private adoption ceremony, with the same judge that finalized Snuggle Bug's adoption and the same lawyer too! Many of our family members and very dear friends were there to witness this amazing event. There was much joy and celebration! And there was an unexpected bonus to all of this...Snuggle Bug was a part of it all and Boo's adoption finalization helped him to understand a bit more about his own that took place when he was only 3 months old.

Afterwards, we had a party in a nearby splash park for Boo. It's one of her favorite places to be and she had a grand time! She got an Adoption cake, many thoughtful gifts, lots of hugs and kisses, and many well-wishes.

It was an emotional day for me. It was perfect! There are moments when I still find it hard to believe that we actually made it through to the other side.

Shortly after Boo's finalization, we notified our foster care agency that we were closing our home. Ornozo and I thought long and hard about that decision. It wasn't an easy one to make. But we both feel that it's best to focus on the raising of the two beautiful children that we have been blessed with.

Maybe one day again we'll foster. I'm sure we'll find other ways to help children in need. It's a passion of mine.

Thank you for all that have followed this journey. Your support, encouragement, and prayers have meant the world to Oronzo and I!

Don't think that you've seen the last of me though. I may not blog as often as I used to, but I'll still pop in now and then to discuss issues related to being an adoptive parent. And I hope to hear from you as well!

I'm a bit uncomfortable posting our family picture on here, but if you've been following our journey and you'd like to see one of Boo's adoption day photos, leave me a comment with your email and I'll oblige!

Take care!

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posted at 8:52 PM
31 comments


Sunday, July 18, 2010
There's a whole lot of adoption talk going on in our household.
As Boo's adoption finalization date approaches (a bit over a month away now), there's a whole lot of adoption talk going on in our household.

Adoption has been part of our everyday conversation for several years now. We've made a point to speak of it frequently with Snuggle Bug, even before he was able to understand much of anything we were saying to him (we're talking newborn stage here), in large part to get ourselves well-versed and comfortable with the conversations. Now that Snuggle Bug is 5, the word pops up more and more each day, often times prompted by him.

Here are some of the things he'll say to me,

"Mama, remember when I was in my birth mother's tummy?"

"My birth mother lives in ______ (state), right Mama?"

"Remember when I was 'dopted, Mama?"

"When is Boo gonna be 'dopted?"

I'm actually enjoying these conversations about adoption because for the longest time I worried that something was wrong, that I was handling things incorrectly, since Snuggle Bug never spoke of adoption, never made any reference to it at all. It wasn't until he was about 4 1/2 that something finally clicked.

Snuggle Bug is a very visual child. He wants you to show him things, not just tell him about them.

His dawning awareness of adoption (as much as a preschooler can understand) began when a neighbor's pregnancy became quite visible.

As she and I stood outside chatting one day, Snuggle Bug piped up and asked, "What's in your tummy?"

Our neighbor explained that her baby was growing in her tummy and that her baby would be born in about a month.

Snuggle Bug turned to me and asked, "Remember when I growed in your tummy, Mama?"

The moment of truth had arrived. It felt as though all my efforts to normalize talk of adoption throughout the years had finally culminated in this first question.

I knelt down to his level and explained, "Actually, honey, you didn't grow in my tummy. You grew in your birth mother's tummy and we were there at the hospital to meet you the day you were born."

I waited to see if my response would generate more questions. Snuggle Bug looked thoughtful for a moment and then said, "Oh, right," and the moment passed.

Since that first question, over time many more have followed and Snuggle Bug has even looked at pictures of Giselle. It feels so good to know that he feels safe enough to come to me with these questions and to realize that he's slowly beginning to grasp the concept that our family has been formed through adoption.

The fact that we talk of Boo's upcoming adoption quite a bit just adds another layer of awareness for Snuggle Bug as we explain what will happen in court that day.

I've overheard Snuggle Bug and Boo excitedly talking together about her approaching adoption and it warms my heart.

I can't wait to have Snuggle Bug witness Boo's adoption finalization. Being the visual child that he is, I think having him there in the courtroom with us will give him a deeper understanding about what adoption means to our family.

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posted at 10:00 PM
15 comments


Sunday, June 20, 2010
The ball is rolling and picking up speed!
Sorry it's been so long since I've posted.

I wanted to stop in and let you all know that the ball is rolling towards adoption and picking up speed!

Boo's case has been transfered to an adoption agency and we have a social work assigned to us that seems quite organized and efficient (refreshing, really)!

We've completed and submitted all the paperwork this social work delivered to us during her first home visit. I had the paperwork back to her the same week.

Friday we met with an adoption attorney and signed "Petition to Adopt" paperwork!

We're being told that we should have a finalization court date by end of August! We are so THRILLED! Of course, we'll believe it when it happens.

Please keep us in your prayers!

Thanks so much!

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posted at 8:31 PM
9 comments


Monday, April 12, 2010
Relinquishment paperwork has been signed!
My hands are shaking as I type this and there are tears welling in my eyes. We got word just now that Boo's bio mom has voluntarily relinquished her parental rights so that we can adopt Boo. Our prayers these past 2 years have finally been answered! Thank you so much to all of you who have stood by us during these difficult times! We are so blessed!

More later. I need to go have a good cry now.

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posted at 12:26 PM
26 comments


Thursday, April 08, 2010
No paperwork signed yet.
We had been given hope that relinquishment paperwork would be signed by Boo's bio mom before the end of last week. To our knowledge, they have not yet been signed.

Our lawyer has attempted to contact her lawyer and has gotten no response.

What does this mean? Has Boo's bio mom changed her mind or is the prison system just hindering the process? Why isn't her lawyer responding to our lawyer?

I'm nervous that Boo's bio mom has changed her mind for some reason.

Well, we still have the second termination trial date set for later this month. Hopefully it won't come to that but this is our back-up plan.

Keep those prayers coming, please!

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posted at 10:09 PM
2 comments




Name: Overwhelmed

My complete profile

It wasn't supposed to work this way...Parts 1 through 10

(the story of the private, domestic adoption of our son)


(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)
(Part 4)
(Part 5)
(Part 6)
(Part 7)
(Part 8)
(Part 9)
(Part 10- Adoption Finalization)

Fostering isn't for the faint of heart!

(our journey to adopt again through foster-to-adopt, the good, the bad, & everything in between)


Adoption #2- considering the State
More Adoption #2 thoughts
Adoption #2- Back to considering the State
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 1)
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 2)
Family Foster Home Licensing Prep Checklist
Adoption #2- Long overdue update
PS-MAPP class homework assignment
Our preliminary home inspection went well!
Adoption #2: Licensing update
Adoption #2- Foster Facts
Adoption #2: I love it when things go my way!
Adoption #2- The home inspection
Adoption #2- We failed our home inspection!
Adoption #2- We passed the follow-up home inspection!
Adoption #2- Still waiting
Adoption #2- We're getting closer
Adoption #2- An update & a lead
Adoption #2- The lead that didn't pan out.
Adoption #2- We're licensed!
Adoption #2- We have a tiny baby here!
Adoption #2- Update on this precious little girl.
Adoption #2- Quick update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is staying longer!
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is growing!
Adoption #2- Overdue update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- The latest on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Shopping spree for Baby Bug
Being a Foster Parent Does Not Make Me A Saint
Adoption #2- Another Placement Call!
Adoption #2- Placement Meeting- UPDATED!
Adoption #2- We have Boo at our home!
Adoption #2- Meeting Boo
Adoption #2- I'm angry on Boo's behalf!
Adoption #2- A Birthday Party for Boo
Adjusting to three 3 and under!
Stressful moments in fostering.
Adoption #2- Update on our foster daughters
CPS Workers Jerking Our Chain!
It's getting much worse!
Fostering: Update on Baby Bug
Fostering: Update on Boo
The effects of fostering on Snuggle Bug
The time is drawing near to let go of Baby Bug.
Good conversation with Baby Bug's dad.
Boo has a Permanency hearing coming soon!
My heart is breaking!
Bittersweet news about Baby Bug.
Next Friday is going to be tough.
Packing up Baby Bug's belongings
It's done- Baby Bug is gone.
Working on finding peace, one day at a time.
Referral to the Early Intervention Program
Baby Bug update
Home Inspection for re-licensing
Parole granted for Boo's bio mom
Baby Bug is turning 1 year old soon.
Day 2 of Boo's permanency hearing
A prayer answered today!
Attending Baby Bug's 1st birthday party
Foster news
Good news for Boo's case
Boo's bio family visits
Termination Trial date set!
A new caseworker for Boo
I've been asked to testify in court.
Court hearing for "John Doe"
Contested termination trial begins tomorrow afternoon
Boo's adoption has been finalized!


Goodbye Google Reader, Hello Bloglovin
In the swing of school
It's time for the kiddos to head back to school a...
Flying home for a nice, long visit!
Baby fix!
Easing back into blogging
A shocking phone call
1 year anniversary for Boo
Life is good!
Boo's adoption has been finalized!


















OW - that's me
Oronzo - my beloved husband
Snuggle Bug - my precious son
Baby Bug - our foster daughter
Boo - our foster daughter
Giselle - our son's birth mother
Quinn - our son's birth father
Clara - our son's birth grandmother
Ellen - our son's birth great grandmother
Chloe - our son's birth aunt
Aleiza - Oronzo's mother
Peyton - Oronzo's father
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Christian - Oronzo's brother
Larissa - Christian's wife
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Madeline - Cole's wife
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Adam - my youngest brother
Grandma G - my maternal grandmother
Grandma K - my paternal grandmother
Inara - my cousin
Hetty & Jack - our dear neighbors
Mary, Bill, Nan - our next door neighbors
Darla - our single mom friend
Jordan - Darla's son

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Of Hope & Hormones
Over My Ovaries
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Saving Grace- A Journey to Understanding
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