November is not only National Adoption Month, but also Family Caregivers Month. This is recognition of one woman who should be celebrated this month for both.
Very rarely do you meet extraordinary people. Let me tell you about Karen.
When I hear the term “strong woman,” Karen comes to mind. When I hear “patience” and “indestructible,” Karen comes to mind. Before I met Karen, I would often hear “Karen” in a Ray Liotta voiceover from Goodfellas. His Brooklyn accent version of “Kaaaaaren” was my main association with that name. Unlike some people these days who may think Karen has a negative connotation to it, I’m here to let everyone know why that name actually is so powerful.
Karen is someone I know somewhat from a distance. She’s a fellow mother from school, and “a friend of a friend.” I know her mostly through Facebook and brief encounters around school-related activities, outings, and kids’ birthday parties. I don’t know everything about her, but I know enough about her to see her resilience. There’s so much more to Karen than meets the eye. Karen is an entire story in herself. In my opinion, that story began when she was a young newlywed marrying the love of her life. Shortly after getting married, Karen’s husband was in an unexpected and tragic accident that left him paralyzed. She never left his side, and truly honored the vow “in sickness and in health.” In an instant and without hesitation, Karen became a wife who literally takes care of her husband and asks for nothing nor expects anything in return. She makes sure he has what he needs, what he wants, is always comfortable, and she doesn’t let him miss out on anything. Typically, when you see one, you will see the other. She’s the sole provider and caretaker, and somehow pulls it off seemingly stress-free and even with a touch of humor.
Although her husband is a quadriplegic, that didn’t stop Karen and her husband from going forth with wanting to grow their family. I didn’t know Karen during that part of her journey in life, but I can’t imagine it was an easy one. The countless obstacles, letdowns, and heartaches they both had to endure during the process were probably extremely frustrating and exhausting. However, Karen never gave up. She held her head high and her hopes even higher. Their prayers were finally answered in September 2013. Karen and her husband were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. Through adoption, they welcomed the final piece of their heart and made their family complete.
I’ve been fortunate enough to watch Karen be a daily example to all women of what it means to be a devoted wife and mother. Most days I don’t know how she does it all. There isn’t an option for her to just not get out of bed or sleep in. She is on 24/7. She is unbelievable – a truly remarkable person.