Monday, November 19, 2012

Orphan Sunday

Adoption is Powerful!! I had the great privilege yesterday of tag-team preaching with one of our pastor's at Meadowbrook Community Church for Orphan Sunday. It was such a great experience! If you are interested in listening in, here is a link to the sermon:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

10 Things Not to Say to Adoptive Parents

I know it's hard to read... but interesting article!!

Author Tracy Hahn-Burkett has a five-year-old daughter adopted from Koreaand an eight-year-old biological son. Whether well-intentioned, curious or inappropriate, Hahn-Burkett has had many a question lobbied in her direction regarding her daughter and their family make-up. Hahn-Burkett offers you, the curious, some advice before you speak. Along with ten questions one should not ask an adoptive parent, she gives her blunt responses. 

1. "Is it difficult to love a child who isn't your own?" My children are my own - both of them. Yes, I know what you mean. And I repeat: Both of my children are "my own." 

2. "I could never love someone who doesn't share my biology." I'm sorry your heart is so limited. And presumably your spouse doesn't share your biology, so I'm sorry for him or her, too. 

3. "She/He's so lucky." If there are adoptive parents who haven't heard this one, I don't know them. Yes, my adopted child is lucky, just like her brother who was born to me - just like any kid blessed with a good family. Moreover, my husband and I are lucky to have her as a daughter. My daughter is not lucky, however, by virtue of having been adopted or because she's been adopted by an American family. Her life story will always be one that begins with wrenching loss of family, country, language, culture, and all things related to the place and people from whence she came. She will have to figure out how to incorporate all of this into her identity at some point, no matter how much we love her. 

4. "That's great; it's so much easier than having the child yourself." Clearly, you have never adopted a child. What, exactly, is easy about it? Is it the hundreds of questions prospective adoptive parents have to answer along the path to adoption, questions that go to the heart of what kind of people they are and dissect every aspect of their lives? Is it committing to a lifetime of knowing that at anytime from toddlerhood through adulthood, your child may come to you with wrenching questions about his or her origins and your answers may be unsatisfactory? Is it knowing that the very fact that your child is yours means that somewhere a woman will probably grieve every day of her life for the child she could not raise? Is it missing the early months, sometimes years, of your child's life? Is it telling your child when he or she asks to see baby pictures, "Sorry, I don't have any"? I could go on, but you get the point. 

5. "She's just like a little China doll!" Yes, thank you, I think she's cute, too. But she is not Chinese and she's a human being, so please don't characterize her as an inanimate stereotype. And if you're going to gush and coo over her, please consider that blond-haired, blue-eyed boy standing right next to her. He's my kid, too. He's pretty cute, too. And he can hear you. 

6. "Her 'real' mother was probably a prostitute." I'm her "real" mother, and so far as I can recall, I have never been a prostitute. 

7. "What kind of a person would give up such a beautiful, sweet child?" This comment is often accompanied by a clucking of the tongue. In general, the kind of person whose options are limited in ways you have never even had to imagine. Birthmothers are not bad, immoral people. Very few, if any, birthmothers who relinquish their children do so lightly. For most, it is a searing, heartbreaking decision that will haunt them forever. Also, please understand that when you say things about my child's birthmother, you are commenting about the woman who gave my daughter life and whose genes remain an inseparable part of her - forever. 

8. "People who adopt children from other countries just want an 'exotic' child." Alternatives: "People who adopt children from other countries just don't want black babies" or "People who adopt children from other countries are shirking their responsibility to adopt at home." Very few parents who choose international adoption do so because they don't like "dark" kids or because they want an "exotic" child. The systems of international and domestic adoption differ in fundamental ways, and most parents who choose to adopt educate themselves thoroughly and then pick the program that is best for them. 

9. Anything in Chinese - addressed to the Asian adopted child This happened to me when my daughter was a year old. A woman in an elevator said something to my daughter in Chinese, and by the time I figured out what had just taken place, the woman was gone (thereby robbing me of my opportunity to deliver any sort of snarky reply). My daughter is American, has lived in this country since infancy, and the language she understands is English. Why would you assume anything else? 

10. "How much did she cost?" Another one we've all heard, generally more than once. But my child is not a melon; I did not pick her up at the store. She cost me nothing. I did, however, spend quite a bit on adoption fees to support the process and travel costs, just as I spent quite a bit on medical care, etc., in conjunction with the conception and birth of my biological son. If you truly want to learn more about the financial aspect of either process, I will be happy to discuss that with you. If you're only interested in knowing in order to pass judgment, it's none of your business. 

- By Tracy Hahn-Burkett 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Adoption Changing The World

Having been adopted, I really have a strong sense- a necessity almost- for stability, a foundation where my family is concerned. [Success] would be meaningless without anyone to share it with.” –Faith Hill
November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Every year, thousands of children are adopted in the United States, but there are still so many more millions of children around our world without a family. It would probably surprise you to realize how many people were adopted.
Here are some people that I’m sure you are familiar with who were adopted. They were given opportunity by their adoptive parents, and have literally changed the world!
  • Faith Hill
  • Daunte Culpepper
  • Bill Clinton
  • Dave Thomas
  • Jesse Jackson
  • Maya Angelou
  • Michael Bay
  • Richard Burton
  • Agustus Ceasar
  • Kristin Chenoweth
  • Eric Clapton
  • Nat King Cole
  • Ten Danson
  • Gerald Ford
  • Jamie Foxx
  • Newt Gingrich
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Nicole Richie
  • Nancy Reagan
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Jim Palmer
  • Michael Oher
  • Alonzo Mourning
  • Mother Teresa
  • Moses
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Tom Monaghan
  • Sarah McLachlan
  • Tim McGraw
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Malcolm X
  • Ray Liotta
  • John Lennon
  • Steve Jobs

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

30 By 30

For the first half of your life, people tell you what you should do; for the second half, they tell you what you should have done. --Richard Needham

As my 29th birthday approaches, I have decided to make a bucket list of 30 things to accomplish before my 30th birthday! I am very happy with my list. It is attainable, but not easy. Lofty, but realistic. Believe it or not, the hardest thing is going to be climbing the tallest ladder at church. Compared to that, everything else is a breeze! So here is my list:

·        Watch all the Lord of the Rings movies
·        Become a mom
·        Meet someone famous
·        Learn how to juggle
·        Run a 10k
·        Go camping with Steve
·        Apply for the Amazing Race
·        Create an original recipe
·        Go to a Steelers game in Pittsburgh
·        Take up yoga
·        Go paintballing
·        Donate an amount I’m uncomfortable donating
·        Lose 30 pounds
·        Go to a black tie event
·        Climb the tallest ladder at church
·        Host a full Thanksgiving meal… but not at Thanksgiving
·        Visit a state I’ve never been to
·        Climb a tree
·        Go fishing
·        Karaoke
·        Grow my own tomatoes
·        Go to a foreign country
·        Learn to change my own oil
·        Eat something exotic
·        Go to a midnight showing of a film
·        Learn how to salsa dance
·        Get a tattoo
·        Take a spontaneous trip
·        Learn to play the drums
·        Get published

Ready... Set... GO!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

So when are you going to get Hokey Pokey Gocke??

I've had several people (actually more like 20-30) ask me that question this week, so I thought it might be a good idea to update my blog!

We've done a lot over the last several months; here's a little summation of what the process has been like so far. In February, we started looking into adopting from Taiwan. Soon after we started working with ABC Counseling towards our international home study. In March, I had a discussion with the orphanage in Taiwan. They informed us that, with the laws changing in Taiwan, they were going to halt their adoption program until they further understood how the new laws would affect them. So we decided to switch to a domestic adoption.

We then went through the home study process for a domestic adoption, getting medical evaluations, background clearances, references, training, etc. In August our home study was almost done when I received contact from the orphanage in Taiwan. They informed us that the new laws had taken affect, and they were going to be processing several cases under the new laws. They wanted to know if they could process our paperwork and have us be one of those families. At this point, we were pretty much done with our domestic home study and on their waiting list for a domestic adoption.

I immediately called Steve, because after all, he is the clear-headed rational one in our relationship. I expected him to tell me that it would be silly to switch programs now since we had come so far with domestic adoption. However, as soon as I told him everything, he said that he felt we needed to switch back to Taiwan because that is where are hearts are. That's all the confirmation I needed! We of course prayed about it and discussed it more that evening, but we both knew we wanted Taiwan more than anything!

So we got a hold of our caseworker at ABC Counseling and had her change our home study from a domestic to an international. Our home study is now at the orphanage in Taiwan, and now we are playing the waiting game. We will wait to hear that we have been referred a little baby. Once we have received a referral of a little baby, then there is more waiting as the legal documents and process is completed in Taiwan. We will then travel to Taiwan and meet our child. This trip will be about a week long. A couple of months after that we will return to Taiwan to bring our child home!

We are so excited to learn who our little one will be. We know so many people are praying for us and little Hokey Pokey Gocke, and we appreciate your prayers so much! God bless you all!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Love and Respect

So this past weekend Steve and I had the privilege of attending a Love and Respect Conference at our church. For those of you unfamiliar with Love and Respect, it is a resource for couples on strengthening your relationship. I am reading the book now as well, and it is such great information! The whole premise is that a woman's primary need from her man is Love, and a man's primary need from his woman is Respect. So many times we women get it wrong, and don't really take the time to show our men how important they are to our lives and how much we respect them for being the wonderful  men that they are. If you haven't read this book, I would strongly encourage you to do so. Then take the principles in it and apply it to your relationship. It's amazing!

Well last night Steve and I were driving home very late, and had a very long car ride. So we did something where we took turns speaking words of love and respect to one another... me telling him what specific things I respect about him, and him telling me what specific things he loves about me. Not only did this boost my confidence in knowing how much he loves me, it was also good for me to vocalize the things that I respected about him.

I would encourage everyone, over the next week, take 30-40 minutes and do this with your spouse or significant other. It will bring you so much closer together... I promise!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Just one step closer

So this week our home study and paperwork were sent to the orphanage in Taiwan! We are waiting for the approval of our paperwork, and then we will be added to the waiting list. So to all of my adoptive families who I have prayed for during their waiting period, I will now know first hand what that waiting period looks like!
Last night I tried making my first Asian meal. It was basil curry chicken with egg rolls. We have a woman in our church who was selling homemade egg rolls to fund her mission's trip, so those were not mine.  The meal turned out well. I think I could just live off of white rice! Next time I will need to add some naan with it.  I know that technically naan is Indian, but it is just so good with the curry flavor and rice!
Next I need to start learning Chinese! Thank you everyone for your support!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Taiwan... my heart breaks for your babies!

I was just doing some research for one of my adoptive families regarding Taiwan. As I was doing some research I came across some astounding facts and figures.
In 2010, approximately 166,000 babies were born in Taiwan... one of the lowest per-capita birth rates in the world. . In contrast, the Taiwanese director-general of the Bureau of Health Promotion stated that roughly 240,000 legal abortions are performed each year. So that number doesn't even include the number of abortions that are not performed in a clinic or hospital. Statistics state that 90 percent of unmarried women who become pregnant will abort their child. This just breaks my heart!
As most of you know, the Taiwanese adoption laws were recently changed this year. One of the changes that was made was for a larger emphasis on domestic adoptions in Taiwan, and the government of Taiwan is doing their best to change the adoption system in Taiwan to encourage Taiwanese families to adopt. I am so encouraged to know that the government is trying to promote adoption, and advocate for these children.
I am so grateful for the orphanage that we are adopting from, The Home of God's Love, and the amazing work they are doing to encourage adoption and finding homes for children!
As you go about your day today, please take a moment to pray for the country of Taiwan, and as you do please also pray for our child's birthmother, wherever she is, and the difficult decision that she is making on whether or not to abort her child. God bless her for the amazing woman that she is!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cutest kids ever!!!

So it's one of those days again... where I just like to look at pictures of Taiwanese children and dream about my own child and what they will look like, what sports they will enjoy, what their favorite bedtime story will be, etc. Enjoy!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

What is that smell?...

It's the smell of us being one step closer to bringing home our baby!! And you can help!

Come to the Gocke home for an afternoon of fun, food, and good smells! Emily Wells will be selling Scentsy, and she is donating her proceeds to our adoption process! Get some Christmas or personal shopping done, with the proceeds going to support our adoption of Hokey Pokey Gocke from Taiwan!

The party will be on October 13th from 2:00-4:00 pm. The party is an open house style, so feel free to stop by anytime! There will be some great Italian favors for you to take home with you! 

Men... it might sound girly, but stop by and pick your wife, mom, sister out a nice gift for Christmas... she'll love it

. And I'll have good food for you to eat too!

If you can't make the party (OR IF YOU DON'T LIVE IN THE AREA), you can go to Emily Wells website, and order from her website. Just select the Hokey Pokey Gocke Fundraiser party, and the proceeds will still go to our adoption. Her website is:

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at or call at 217-898-1158.

Thank you everyone for your support and helping us bring home our little baby!  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On Top of Spaghetti...

Do you remember all of the lyrics to that song?  In our home growing up, every Sunday we had spaghetti with homemade sauce and meatballs for dinner after church. That is not an exaggeration... literally every Sunday! I have such fond memories of sitting around the dinner table and singing On Top of Spaghetti with my brothers.
What do you eat on top of your spaghetti? If your answer is Ragu or Prego or Classico, that is the wrong answer! You don't even know how good spaghetti actually is until you've had Rosetta Maria Pisano's recipe for homemade sauce on your spaghetti (Props to you Grandma Rose)! Fortunately, you don't have to travel to Pittsburgh and wait the seven hours that it takes to make the sauce in order to have the true Italian experience. Over the last 16 years, I have perfected the art of both making the sauce and canning the sauce. And in order to help raise funds for our adoption, we are selling Mamaria's homemade sauce! It's only $5 per jar or $30 for an entire batch (seven jars).
So message me, email me (, text me, call me (217-898-1158)... however you want to get ahold of me... and order your sauce. But here's a warning... you won't be able to go back to the sauce sold in stores after you've had it! So beware!!
Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Skymiles galore!

So now that we have officially switched back to adopting from Taiwan, things are very exciting! Here is what the process is looking like for us.

Our first step was to update our home study. Our social worker had to transfer our home study from a domestic home study to an international home study. The requirements for the two are very different. Our social worker was wonderful and in under two weeks pretty much has that completed! Next our home study will go to the state of Illinois for approval. This makes me nervous because there is only one lady that approves international home studies, so I work with her quite often. Now she will know everything that there is to know about me. Oh well... I have no secrets (except for that one time... J/K). The state typically takes about 2 weeks to approve the home study.

Then I will send the home study to our placement case worker with The Home of God's Love. She will send it, along with our references, on to Ted and Bev, who run The Home of God's Love in Taiwan. Once we are approved by Ted and Bev, then we will officially be placed on the waiting list for a child.

Eventually we will be matched with a child! We are open to either gender, and hoping to receive a child under the age of 12 months. Once we are matched, we wait while legal paperwork is filed for us. Then we are assigned a court date. When we know our court date, we buy our plane tickets to travel to Taiwan for the first time. We will be there for about a week, and get to spend time with our little Hokey Pokey Gocke. Then, and this is the hard part, we will have to leave our little one and come back to the U.S. for 4-8 weeks while all the other paperwork is handled. Then we will finally be able to go to Taiwan and pick up Hokey Pokey and bring him/her home with us!

So that is what we are looking at. Two long trips to Taiwan... that's a lot of skymiles! We'll have to save them up for our next adoption! Hopefully that explains the process somewhat, and gives everyone an idea of what we are looking at during this process. We can't wait to bring our little one home!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Funds Raised

Steve and I have been so blessed by the amount of donations and assistance we have received while fundraising for Hokey Pokey Gocke!!  God has been using our friends, families, and even people we don't know to bless us through this process.  At our recent garage sale, we had a total stranger ask if she could pray for us... it was an amazing experience!
We have currently raised $5,650 of our needed $12,000... almost half way there!! If you would like to help support our adoption, we have so many opportunities and ways to do so!!

  • Financial Donations: We have already been so blessed by the numerous donations that we have received from people! God is so good! 
  • Buy some of Mamaria's Spaghetti Sauce:  I am selling my homemade family recipe of spaghetti sauce. It is delicious if I may say so myself! I am selling them for $5 per jar or a whole batch (7 jars) for $30. 
  • Donate Air Miles: The majority of our adoption expenses are going to be for our travel to Taiwan. After doing some research, it looks as if United Airlines has the cheapest flights. So if you have some air miles with United that you are not using, please feel free to donate! You can also purchase miles and donate them.
  • Prayer!! I know this doesn't count as a financial way that you can help us, but prayer is seriously the most helpful thing for us right now! 
We love you all so much and are so appreciative of everything that we have had done for us so far! 
God bless you all!!


So my lunch break today at work was very productive.  It involved looking at pictures of Taiwanese children online, and just falling absolutely in love!! Now I am a firm believer that all children are beautiful... but my heart is especially attuned to these little ones right now! So I thought I would share as I look forward to bringing home little Hokey Pokey Gocke! Is it just me, or does the one squinting her eyes with the pigtails look like she could definitely be mine?!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

God's plans, an African impala, and our child

For those of you that know me, you are probably aware that I like things to be planned out and to go exactly according to plan. God knows me pretty well... I mean, He created me and all... but I think He has forgotten this little fact about me.
When we began this process back in February, we so badly wanted to adopt from Taiwan! I'm familiar with an orphanage there in Taiwan, The Home Of God's Love, and know several people who have adopted from this particular orphanage.  However, in May, the Taiwanese adoption laws changed. Since no one knew exactly how these new laws would affect adoption, the orphanage, as well as many other orphanages in Taiwan, decided to place their adoption program on hold.
To say the least, we were sad about this change in plans, but felt God leading us to pursue a domestic adoption. So we began the process. About three weeks ago, our paperwork was completed and our profile began to be shown to birth mothers.
This past week I received an email from one of the women that works for The Home Of God's Love.  They are opening their program back up again and would like to go ahead and process our application. My jaw dropped and I had no clue what to say.  I immediately contacted Steve and we shared a little lunch-date-phone-conference. Those of you that know Steve and I well know that I am more emotionally driven and he is the rational one who keeps me in line.  So I fully expected my wonderful husband to inform me that we can't switch now and that we should just move forward with the domestic. But to my surprise, about two minutes into the conversation he said "Let's do it... let's switch back to Taiwan." Utter shock! We discussed it more and both fully agreed that Taiwan was always where our hearts were and we would have to be crazy to now jump at this opportunity.
A dear friend of ours shared a story with us last weekend... not knowing our circumstances and what decisions we were about to face. He told us about the African impala. The impala can jump up to ten feet high and a distance greater than thirty feet.  However, if you place a three foot wall in front of them, they will stay put.  Why? Because they can't see where they will land, so they will not jump. This whole week, in all of our decision-making... I just keep hearing God say "Don't let not seeing where you will land keep you from jumping." So we are going to take this leap of faith and switch back to Taiwan, knowing that God knows exactly where we will land! God has thrown several wrenches in our plans... and is stretching me about as thin as I can go in the patience department... but I couldn't be happier with where He is leading us! While we see this process a little bit at a time, He sees the end and knows exactly who our child is!

Friday, August 10, 2012

What a Week?!

So we have had an eventful week with our adoption!  

We received a phone call from our caseworker late Wednesday afternoon informing us that a birthmother had looked at our profile and really wanted to choose us as the family to adopt her baby!  I will say I was quite speechless! Our profile has only been being shown for three weeks, and we already have a potential referral?! The second sentence out of her mouth was not quite as exciting.  She explained to me that this particular case would be quite a bit of expenses due to the birthmother's expenses that she was requesting assistance with. Illinois does not have an amount cut off for birthmother expenses, but they do have a time frame cut off.  You can start paying four months before the baby is born and continue until the baby is two months old. This birthmother had just hit the five month mark.  So including the month of the baby's birth (December), that would be seven months of paying her expenses. 

I went home to discuss the situation with Steve, and we were both in agreement that we were not financially able to accept this referral, as we did not have that amount of finances for our adoption. After we made the decision that the answer would be no, I had such a peace... the kind that only comes from God.  I was not upset that we had to decline a referral (surprisingly). I know that this was not the placement God has intended for us, and I know that He has our perfect little one out there somewhere for us!

Furthermore, the fact that we had been picked only three weeks after our start date of being shown was quite encouraging for our spirits! I know that God has the perfect birthmother in store to choose us for her baby... and I have placed all of my cares on His shoulders as He leads and guides us through this!!

Thank you all for your love and encouragement!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Waiting Time!

So it has been a very long time since I have posted anything.  I knew this blogging thing would be more than I could handle!

A lot of people have been asking for updates on our adoption, so I thought I would give all the new details. We completed all of our home study requirements... including medical evaluations, essay questions (a lot of them), two in-person interviews, and online training regarding adoption-related topics. It took us longer than I thought it would. It looks like adoption professionals do not make the the best adoption clients!

In the meantime, we also worked on our profile.  This is the book that birthmother's will look at when deciding who they would like to adopt their baby. Having viewed hundreds of profiles, and actually sat many times with birthmothers as they look over the profiles of families, you would think this would be simple for me.  Nay-Nay! It is very difficult to put together a book about yourselves, making yourself look perfect, but not too perfect; smart, but not nerdy; adventurous, but not too out there. When it came down to it, our completed book was a pretty accurate reflection of Steve and I. If you would like to view our profile, please follow the below link.  Please feel free to share.  If you know a young lady that might be considering adoption, again please feel free to share.

We have also worked on getting the baby room ready. Since we will not know the gender until who-knows, we had started out thinking we would do a gender-neutral color for the nursery. But we have differing opinions on what is and is not gender-neutral. So we decided that we will paint three of the walls gray and leave the final wall until we know the gender.  Purple for a girl and green for a boy. It is going to be quite a unique nursery, and I am excited to see it all come together!

We have come up with a name for our baby. It is Hokey Pokey Gocke. We hope you like it! I hope you know we are joking... but we enjoy calling the baby that until we know the gender.  We do have some names picked out, but still aren't sure about a girls name.

We have also been continually working on fundraising.  If you would like to order some of my sauce, I am still selling it, so please let me know. We are having a pretty large garage sale this weekend, and am hoping it goes well.  If you live near, stop on by for it!  We are also looking into no-interest loans in case we do not raise all of our needed funds by the time the baby is born.

Please pray for our family as we continue to grow. We are now in this waiting period of waiting for a birthmother to choose us. Hopefully it will go quickly!!

Thank you everyone for your love and support!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Adoption Tax Credit

On April 17th, a bill was introduced to Congress which will be known, in short, as the Making Adoption Affordable Act.  This Act will permanently expand the adoption tax credit to an amount of $13,360, and make it refundable.  As most of you know, the current adoption tax credit will expire on December 31, 2012.  The Adoption Tax Credit is important to many adoptive families, and a great deal of adoptive families would be unable to adopt if not for the tax credit.  Considering that the current number of orphans worldwide is approximately 163 million, this tax credit will assist adoptive families in decreasing this number, and following God's call to "defend the cause of the fatherless" (Isaiah 1:17). 
So how can you participate and ensure that adoptive families continue to have this support?  Contact your local representative and encourage him/her to vote for the proposed bill.  

Here is a link to the actual bill:

And here is a link to a website from which you can locate and contact your local representative:

Please spread the word and forward this information to as many people as possible! 

God bless!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Scary Mommy Manifesto

Some humor before Easter weekend.  As I look forward to being a mommy, I would like to share this manifesto.  Hopefully it is something that I can live by:

Please solemnly recite the following before proceeding:
  • I shall maintain a sense of humor about all things motherhood, for without it, I recognize that I may end up institutionalized. Or, at the very least, completely miserable.
  • I shall not judge the mother in the grocery store who, upon entering, hits the candy aisleand doles out M&Ms to her screaming toddler. It is simply a survival mechanism.
  • I shall not compete with the mother who effortlessly bakes from scratch, purees her own baby food, or fashions breathtaking costumes from tissue paper. Motherhood is not a competition. The only ones who lose are the ones who race the fastest.
  • I shall shoot the parents of the screaming newborn on the airplane looks of compassion rather than resentment. I am fortunate to be able to ditch the kid upon landing. They, however, are not.
  • I shall never ask any woman whether she is, in fact, expecting. Ever.
  • I shall not question the mother who is wearing the same yoga pants, flip-flops and t-shirt she wore to school pickup the day before. She has good reason.
  • I shall never claim to know everything about any child but my own. (Who still remains a mystery to me.)
  • I shall hold the new babies belonging to friends and family, so they may shower and nap, which is all any new mother really wants.
  • I shall attempt to not pass down my own messed up body issues to my daughter. She deserves a mother who loves and respects herself; stretch marks, cellulite and all.
  • I shall not preach the benefits of breastfeeding or circumcision or home schooling or organic food or co-sleeping or crying it out to a fellow mother who has not asked my opinion. It's none of my business.
  • I shall try my hardest to never say never, for I just may end up with a loud-mouthed, bikini clad, water gun shooting toddler of my very own.
  • I shall remember that no mother is perfect and my children will thrive because, and sometimes even in spite, of me.