How It All Began
Tony & Kenny, My Marines
As a mother, we embark on many journeys with our children. These Journeys lead to some emotional highs, and sometimes some really low lows. We rise above.....it’s what we do! We gather over coffee or wine and share our joys and struggles to help us through the roller coaster that we call motherhood. I had no idea that becoming a military mom would leave me feeling like a fish out of water.
I realized very quickly that along with my feelings of tremendous pride came an unsettling and overwhelming feeling of fear and loneliness. The comfort of my “mom” coffee clutches were different now. As a military mom my views, thoughts and emotions had changed. My highs and lows as a parent had somehow shifted to a level I felt my friends could not understand. “If I only knew other military moms” I thought to myself. I struggled along with my head held high and persevered on my own. A lot of tears and anxiety, but I kept on, military mom strong!
Then along came “our” first deployment….Iraq. My life would be forever changed….
to the extent….I had no idea.
By God’s grace my son (after 2 deployments) was brought home safe & unscathed. But was he? The years following Tony’s service as a United States Marine were difficult. PTSD had entered our lives. My son, now a combat Veteran, was going through things I had no experience with as a mom.......no let me rephrase that....... as a civilian mother, on how to handle any of it.
HIS FIRST NIGHT HOME
Once the house settled on the first night Tony came home on leave, after his first deployment in Iraqi, I was under the delusional thought that things would be back to normal. “My son was home” I thought, “he was safe”. Everyone was in bed, and I was relishing in the feeling of my child being asleep in the house, safe and sound. Like a strike of lightening screams broke the silence, as my son was yelling out from his room. I jumped up, my feet unable to move – how do I handle this, I had heard stories regarding post deployment issues, but this was my son! As I ran to his room, my phone in hand, I called one of his military “brothers”. "Keep your distance mama" he said, "turn the light on and call his name from the doorway." I wanted to run to him as I did when he was a boy, hold him and tell him it's ok , mommy's here. – WOW what a shock that moment was for me. I knew immediately that my son was a much different person than the son I had proudly sent off to the military. He had joined the ranks of a combat Veteran, an experience that eventually would lead me along my journey to Adopt a Soldier.
It was that night that I prayed.... for my son Tony, for my younger son Kenny, also a United States Marine, for my family and for guidance. I am blessed with an awesome, supportive family! God answered my prayers with a partner, my niece Becky, who still lives this journey with my son and I today . I quickly realized that God was leading me on a greater journey. This is NOT something new! This is not something only my family has and will continue to live with. Something had to be done.
Adopt a Soldier was born, an answer to so many of the issues Soldiers, Veterans and their families struggle through everyday. Gods Answer to my prayers! Adopt a Soldier, connecting military families, Soldiers and Veterans. We don't have to walk alone!
Proud Founder of Adopt A Soldier