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The Journey Begins 

When I started up this blog and that blog, I was struggling to stay above the choppy waves of depression and grief that were threatening to drown me. My son had only died a few short months before and I was embarking on a journey in an uncharted waters.

I was trying to figure out how to survive the death of a child. My child. My almost five-year-old son.

I had finally learned the ropes of being the parent to a disabled child and a mother to three small children. I was just getting my groove on, finally able to juggle the special needs of Shalebug along with the needs of my lovely Fric and Frac. And then all of a sudden, the carpet was yanked out from beneath me.

I was no longer the mother to three kids or the mom to a disabled child. The person I used to be simply vanished. She ceased to exist the moment I walked out of the hospital alone, with a small plastic bag filled with Bug's clothing. The only tangible evidence I had to prove I had walked in with a living child and walked out without one.

I still have that plastic bag filled with the clothes Bug wore when he died. It's folded up tightly and stored in a box tucked high up on the top shelf at the back of my closet. I don't know when or if I'll ever have the courage or the need to open it and revisit that night in my mind. I fight so hard not to remember how he looked on that emergency room table, unmoving and dead, or how his head hung at an unnatural angle in my arms as I raced him into the emergency room, I'm not sure I could actually bear the physical reminders of that night.

I don't want to remember that moment in time. I want to surround myself with the love of his memory, the warm wash of his giggles bathing my soul in love. It's hard, so very hard, to remember past the pain to recall the joy he imprinted on me. I'm haunted by both charming memories of my son and visions no parent should ever have dancing before their eyes.

It's too easy to slip into the familiar pain of grief and start missing him with a crushing intensity. It's still too easy to weep when a song comes on the radio and reminds me of him. The nightmares I have almost nightly are still too real, too vivid.

Time has helped heal my wounds but the scars still seep more often than not.

I'm not there yet. But I'm getting closer.

I've had three long years to examine myself and wade through the emotions that swirl around me like a vortex. My husband, God bless his cotton socks, has moved heaven and earth to try and make things right with me, with our family and breathe life back into the withered shell I suddenly became.

But as much as I'm grateful to my husband for his unending love, deep compassion and the constant understanding he shows me, he wasn't enough to make me rise out of bed in the morning and draw another breath.

No. The only thing that moved me out of my reverie of self-pity and grief was the broken looks on my children's face. Their blue eyes were haunted and their world turned upside down. It was my desperate desire to bring the light back into their eyes and hear the echoes of laughter that rang in my heart which motivated me.

I did what any mother would do. I sucked it up when I needed to and cried when I had to. I stopped running from the storm of pain and let the emotions rain upon myself. I sought help for the depression I had sunk into and I started taking care of myself so that I could take care of my children.

I needed to show my kids it was okay. I would be okay. They would be okay. We would be okay together. We would just take it one step, one emotion, and one milestone at a time. Together.

Time has dulled the edges of grief and I've we've begun to experience joy again. I found solace in the oddest place: myself, through my blog.  By sharing online I found a safety net of love, support and community. You gave me the courage to keep on keeping on. If I hadn't had the ability or luxury to sit at my computer and focus on the funny in my life and start anew, I'd probably be sitting in a padded cell trying to stab myself with celery sticks.

With every day that passes and every post I write, whether inane, or funny, or serious, I am taking one step closer to becoming a person I can recognize in the mirror. Not the old Tanis; she is buried with her arms tightly wrapped around her son, but a new Tanis. One I'm just starting to understand and appreciate.

Life carried on and love carried us through and eventually Boo and I found ourselves opening up our hearts and our minds to the idea of doing it all again. After much deliberation and talking we decided, as a family, we would adopt.

It's been a long journey for us. Two years in fact. When we started the adoption journey I promised myself I would share our story with anyone who wanted to read about it. I've been brutally honest in our walk down the road to snatch a child out of the clutches of government and call him or her our own.

We've been through the ringer as a family, enduring unending waits, home assessments, psychological evaluations and mind-numbing preparatory courses. We have filled out a forest worth of paper work and faced rejection.

We've survived having my blog discovered and my words tossed in my face. (Word to the wise: It's never a good idea to call the lady who holds the keys of your family's fate in her hands a bureaucratic asshat. Just so y'all know.)

We've celebrated our application approval and held our breath for the phone to ring. For a child to be dropped out of the sky and into our laps. We have waited impatiently and patiently and tried to remember there will be a light at the end of this tunnel one day, a new little redneck to call our own, another child to duct tape to my wall.

(Totally kidding dear adoption peeps. I only beat them with wet noodles. Wink.)

It hasn't been easy. There has been much whining (primarily on my part) about how life is passing us by and still there has been no sign of a child to call Redneck Child Number Four.

Then one afternoon, the phone rang and Boo and I were offered a child. We rejoiced and held our breaths. But after learning more we instinctively knew he wasn't the one. He wasn't ours. So we declined him and opted to wait for a child with more needs, a child who I could look in the eyes and know he was the right one. It was one of the hardest decisions Boo and I ever made.

Still, the choice was made and our wait begun anew. Boo went off to work and I sit at home twiddling my thumbs and blog. I have grown tired of waiting. There are only so many blogs a gal can read before her laptop starts to grow to the tops of her thighs and her ass starts to spread from inactivity.

I no longer jump whenever the phone rings. (Mostly because it takes energy. Energy I could expend clicking a mouse.) Heck, most of the time it's telemarketers or bill collectors. (Just kidding Boo. I totally pay our bills on time. Cross my heart.) I can only have so much fun tormenting total strangers before growing bored of that game, like a cat pawing at a mouse.

Which is why, when the phone rang and I didn't recognize the phone number, I almost didn't answer it. I was deeply absorbed in some mindless television drama and I was in a pissy mood tired. But at the last second I thought what the hell, it's a commercial, I may as well play with some underpaid telemarketer's mind and so I answered the call.


"Is this Tanis Miller?" a delicate female voice asked on the other line.

Rolling my eyes and cracking my knuckles, I thought to myself 'let the games begin' as I answered, "Yes."

"A friend of yours gave me your name. I think I have an eight-month-old baby you will want to adopt. Are you interested?"

A chorus of heavenly angels was singing in the background as I smiled and asked her to tell me more.

My heart raced as I listened to the woman, who was about to make my dreams come true, tell me about my son.

To be continued...
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Reader Comments (241)

Wow! I'm so excited for you and your family. I can't wait to hear more.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteramanda

You are an evil, evil woman! ;)

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelody

and? and? and??????????

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthe planet of janet

Oh, I really hate cliffhangers! But I'm hoping that it turns out good!!!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenn @ thatpsychofamily.com

My brother in law's brother and his wife tried for years to have a baby and were unable, they adopted a disabled baby boy that they named Austin and a year later became pregnant with another little boy and again with a little girl. (It's funny how life works.)I know what a battle the adoption process was for them and then raising three children, one with special needs, but I also know that they wouldn't trade it for anything.

I'm so glad for you. I pray that all works out well for you. I'm new to the blog-o-sphere, but I love reading yours and wish you all the luck in the world.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIrish Chicken Soup

having lurked here for the most part... and being up with a pukey child.... i just had to comment tonite... wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!!!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

I am so afraid to say anything for the fear of jinxing whatever is coming next. I'm just going to hold my breath and revisit prayer.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMr Lady

Another mostly lurker here.

Well???? Don't keep us waiting!

It sounds like great news!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFusion

OK. The tears are streaming down my face. Dammit woman. SHARE!!!!



November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBush Babe

Can't you type the next post any faster?

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBill

OMG! That is so great!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterwhitney

OK. I'm weeping here. I'm so hoping for news I can be thankful for! Will probably be checking for updates hourly.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAngela




Speech, I can has lost it.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKelley

jumping up and down and clapping my hands like a silly seal. can hardly wait to find out more.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercrazymumma

This could become a movie with Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin:

The Hunt for Redneck Mommy's 4th Goober.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

Keeping my fingers crossed for you. How wonderful!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJonas

(holding breath and trying to be patient while waiting...)

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkatie

How exciting! I hope everything turns out wonderfully!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKendra

Would it be wrong of me to call directory assistance for your number and haul you out of bed to get closure on that anecdote?

gaaaa!!!!! fingers crossed...

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

Oh Tanis. I have cried with you so many times. You cannot know how thrilled I am to be crying tears of joy with you this morning. On the eve of our US Thanksgiving, I will be thinking of you and your family as I make salads and bake pies and count blessings.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterks grandma

i hate to be continued... but love the way you tell your journey with such truth and emotion.

please don't name him Redneck Child Number Four

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertony


November 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterall things BD

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPP!!!!! such a tease for making us waiting.. this is exciting news woman!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertonya cinnamon

oh my god, I ended reading your post with tears in my eyes and holding my breath, tell us, please!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjenny

Your post has me in tears... Oh, I'm praying prayers of gratitude for you.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

O.K. you are making me stop lurking which I've been doing forever. Spill it. I can't wait to hear the rest of the story and can't wait to tell my daughter. She reads too. Wow is all I can say.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRamona

The hairs on my arms all have stiffies!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterderfina

I've got my fingers (toes and eyes) crossed for ya girl.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMahala


November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

Oh. My. GOD!

Please oh please oh please let this work out, PLEASE?!?!

Can't wait to hear more!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIdleMindOfBeth

You are such a tease! Hope to hear some great, great news soon!! xoxo

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited for you!!!!!! This is so great!!!! What a gift for the holidays for you and your family. I hope it works out, Tanis. That kid is damn lucky if he/she makes it to your home.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer McKenzie

To be continued.. like - soon? Later today maybe? Now perhaps???????


November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Britt

I'm so excited for you, and crossing my fingers that this is the time it all works out for you and your family. I love your blog btw.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

Coming out of lurkdom to say:

OH MY GOD TANIS! (Can I call you Tanis?) I got goosebumps reading this. I am too excited for you. You're getting a BABY. A SON! OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.

Tell us more!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElda

OOOO I hate that you left me with a cliff hanger!!!!! Good Luck Tanis!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterClassy Redneck

Wow, I'm SO excited for you. I hope everything works out.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteramandashea17

Aaaahhhh! Damn cliffhangers!
I was sitting here all but sobbing at your story, then I burst out in a belly laugh at "It’s never a good idea to call the lady who holds the keys of your family’s fate in her hands a bureaucratic asshat", then to screaming a big fat "Uugh" at the cliffhanger. I was all over the place.
Seriously though, congratulations on your good news. I really hope everything works out for you.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDonna in VA

Dammit Tanis. It is not nice to tease!
Gawd woman, I'm going to be a wreck waiting for the rest of this!!!!


November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

O.M.G! Waiting with baited breath and fingers crossed!!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJodiS

Praise God!!!!

Congrats..I will be sending up an extra prayer today..{every 10 mins}..for you and your family!!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeri


I think we may have been drinking the same liquor, er, WATER. I read your post and choked up (sad and beautiful and real) and had some flashbacks.

If I may be so bold, here's something I wanted to share, I hope it resonates :


Right on! So happy to hear the good news. Fingers crossed and prayer wheel rollin', I'm thinking good thoughts for you! We all are!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIrishGumbo

Tanis, I am so happy for you! That is such great news. I cannot wait to hear the rest of this story.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSciFi Dad

Oh no you di'ent!!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWendy Hill

i can not wait to hear the rest of this story. I am so excited for you and your family :)

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergeena

I am a little choked up and very excited to see what comes along next. Please, don't make us wait long.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLeesy

tanis... great blogg... i always understood the sudden and totaly unexpected passing of my younger brother, as a brother, not as a parent...this helps me comprehend the grief that my parents are contending with. (and the seemingly BULLSHIT) i get from them)...it helps to comprehend their prespective...

two people i know, one a HS sweet heart, also lost a brother and a sister, and we understand it as a sibling, not as a parent...we always, as part of conversation chat and share a common, wretched bond...

as for the box of personal effects, for me, every time i see a town yellow public works truck
it just stops everything for a minute... it does not get easier, it just gets a little less difficult...

rock on!!!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercapt jeff

I am so excited for you and to hear the rest of the story. Don't keep up waiting much longer!!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Um, ah. I know where this story goes, and, agh, I just feel like I can't comment without... agh.

Sweet friend, maybe give these dear readers a hint as to where this story is going because reading these comments is making me SOB this morning.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHer Bad Mother

Dammit woman, I am not good at this cliffhanger jazz!!

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLovingDanger

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