We are so grateful for all of the amazing Moms who are dedicated readers of Sounds Fun Mom! In our feature, Moms Around the Sound, we highlight some of these women and share their lives with you. Our goal is to celebrate Moms (and Dads!) from all walks of life. This month, meet Desiree, an awesome gal who adopted her son all the way from China! You will love hearing about their fun family life!
Tell us about your family.
We are a family of two, Momma, Desiree, and my son, Isaac, who is 5 years old. God put our family together through international adoption. The fact that Isaac is rocking an extra chromosome (Down syndrome) is icing on the super cool family cake! I work in the community as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Isaac is the self-appointed assistant teacher of his preschool class.
Tell us about yourself. What are your passions, dreams or goals? What achievements are you most proud of?
Special needs adoption is near and dear to my heart. Children with special needs often wait longer or age out of the system without ever finding a family (both internationally & domestically). This breaks my heart. No child should ever be without a loving family, especially a child who may never be able to advocate for themselves. In my free time I facilitate an online community of families who are equally passionate about providing safe & healthy futures for children with Down syndrome in China. These families have helped change governmental policy in China towards children rocking an extra chromosome and now we are seeing Christian foster homes specializing in the care of Down syndrome opening in China as well. It’s all very exciting! Significant impact CAN happen just with a few crazy families getting their orphan care on! You can find more information on the The Bamboo Project here.
How would you describe your parenting style? What parts of parenting have been most rewarding, surprising or challenging for you?
The combination of adoption parenting and special needs parenting is a style in and of itself, which probably looks like brain-bending chaos from the outside. But my goal every day is to provide an emotional balance for my son that says “you are safe with me” AND “you can do anything!” At times, this translates into me providing encouragement to explore a new environment and other times (our current stage in life) being more child-led and me racing to provide the boundaries for a safe experience! It’s always an adventure! I adore seeing my boy discovering something new and fully embracing it. Other times, it doesn’t work out so well, but that is ok…it’s important to me that I model for my son that being amsingle parent or having Down syndrome isn’t going to stop us from having a full life, even if we have some trip-ups along the way.
Tell us about your community. How long have you lived in the South Sound? What about your town do you love?
I grew up in the Midwest but have been in the Federal Way-Tacoma area for 20 years now, so I’m practically a native, right?! I mean, I can pronounce and spell Saghalie, so, you know…keys to the city. Our Northwest Church family defines our community the most. I love that the South Sound is small enough to allow us to always bump into someone we know from church, but also big enough we can enjoy the cultural amenities of the ‘big city’ (theater, museums, music, restaurants, etc). Being able to spend a day in the City and a day in the mountains during the same weekend is amazing!
Tell us about your favorite things in the South Sound. What are the go-to spots for your family?
I’ve always loved to travel and explore new things so I decided very early in parenthood that either my child would learn to travel well OR I would learn to cope, either way we were going to continue to explore our world! (This had the potential of seriously backfiring on me! But thankfully, my boy is an amazing traveler and loves to try new things). We spend a lot of time at the beach (Dash Point State Park) or parks that offer little-leg- friendly “hikes” (Point Defiance Park-Tacoma, Wards Lake Park-Lakewood, Wildwood Park-Puyallup). I tend to pick things to do that feeds both of us (why should a parent be totally bored on a family outing??); splash parks with a view (Point Ruston), an afternoon trip to Mt Rainier for a chicken nugget lunch, cheap movies with reclining chairs. I also keep with us a seasonal ‘bucket list’ of area things we want to try. These are usually things I’ve heard others talk about or read about on sites like Sounds Fun Mom. On our list for Fall is: Meeker Mansion’s Cider Squeeze, spending a weekend in Leavenworth, hiking around Chamber’s Bay and finding the best gelato in Tacoma. Taking advantage of Groupons provides good motivation to get out and try new things we wouldn’t have otherwise done. The most important part to me is that WE are out and about DOING. Doesn’t matter what it is or where it is, the fact that we can do it together and explore this amazing area that we live in is blessing enough for me.
Are you inspired by Desiree and her love for the area? I’m so encouraged by her positive attitude and desire to make a difference in the lives of others.
Know a mom who knows what Sound South life is all about? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about a mom we should all know.