I Was Not an Accident


First Grade GinnyWhat I am about to share is deeply personal, and something I have been hesitant to share with anyone.  I have decided to go ahead with this blog post because if me sharing my feelings regarding my adoption can help one child or adult, then it is worth the butterflies in my stomach right now.

I have talked openly about my adoption for many years, and have been pretty matter of fact when sharing my story.  I have always focused on the fact that I grew up in a good home with great parents, and really haven’t talked much about what has gone on inside my head and heart when it comes to the fact that I was given up for adoption, and actually vividly remember sitting at a table in the DHS offices and hearing my biological mother tell my sister and myself that she would never see us again.  I haven’t talked at all about the feelings of not being wanted by the woman who gave birth to me.  I have always chosen to focus on the positive.  That even though I was not raised by my biological mother and father, the life I was given by my adoptive parents was a life filled with love and acceptance.

As an adult, I have done a very good job of building walls that hide that insecure little girl who felt very much unwanted and unloved by the one person who should have wanted me and should have loved me enough to fight for me.   Even though I have no doubt that I had a much better life being raised by Frank and Betty Williams, those deep feelings were always there…….the feeling of being an accident……..that I wasn’t wanted.

My biological mother gave birth to seven children, and for various reasons, she did not raise any of us.  There have been many times in my life that I wonder if birth control had been better in 60’s, if I would even be on this earth.  Because I am only 13 months younger than my sister, I have always just assumed that I was an “oops”.   It is not something that I dwell on, but it is something that bubbles up and slaps me in the face once in a while.

This week was one of those times.  A “Facebook friend” announced that she and her husband were having another child.  A a new baby to add to the 8 blessings(some through birth and others through adoption) they already have.   She wrote a blog post explaining why she and her husband are so excited about this new life that will be joining their family.  Because EVERY life is a blessing and orchestrated by God.  There are NO mistakes!  Yes, some children may face pain and hardship early in life.  They may spend time in foster care, orphanages in foreign countries, or bounce back and forth between family members.  These children are NOT ACCIDENTS and they are NOT MISTAKES.  They are wanted and loved by the best Father ever and He will look after them and take care of them until they find a forever family.  As I reread what I just wrote, it would be so easy for me to just put the word I in where I have written they………but that makes it too close, too personal.  When I was reading her post, it hit me like a ton of bricks….I have carried that feeling of being an accident, and unwanted through my life.  At times I have hidden it well.  At times I have not.  There are times when that scared little girl is very much a part of this fifty-something-year-old woman.  There are times that the cruel words that were hurled at me on the playground when I was “just a foster kid” slap me in the face and make me feel those feelings of hurt and loneliness all over again. The most hurtful words that have ever been said to me were said on a first grade playground.  Those words were “nobody wants you, you are a FOSTER kid”.    Even though I have lived many years since those words were said to me, they still come back to haunt me and that hurt, scared little girl inside me remains.  Parents – talk to your kids about the hurtful things they may say to others.  They do matter and they do cause deep wounds. Even though after my adoption, I shared very openly (and yes to those bullies at school), that I was chosen and I was wanted, I still held on to that belief that I was an accident.

As I read Callie’s post earlier this week, the tears began to fall.  When I read her words that every child is a blessing, and every child is a gift I realized for the first time in my life that I am not an accident.  God knew what my future would hold when I was conceived.  He knew that there would be rough times.  He knew that I would hold on to memories from my early years that are painful.  He knew that Frank and Betty Williams were the perfect parents for me, and that the road to their arms and hearts would be a difficult one, but that He would be with me along the way.  He wanted me……and He loved me when I didn’t think anybody else did.  So…..Callie Reed, thank you for sharing your blog post.  It touched me in a way few things have, and it has healed huge part of my heart.




Two Years

Dave in Mexico

It was two years ago today that my world shattered.  Two years ago that I heard the words that we had been dreading for two weeks.   The words I will never forget.  The words “You have cancer”.  Those words were not spoken to me, but rather they were spoken to my husband, but I was in the room and I heard them loud and clear.  The walls started closing in as the doctor started talking about treatments, surgery etc.  I grabbed onto two other words that he said, and I would cling to those words for a very, very long time.  I am still clinging to those to words “it’s treatable”.

As we sat in that small room 2 years ago, so many things went through my mind.  The first thing I thought of was “how are we going to tell the kids”?  Kaylee and Alex were getting married in just six short days.  We were in full wedding mode.  We had family already at our house……..just so much going through my mind.  I don’t think we really processed what we were being told at that time.  We went into auto pilot……told the kids what we knew, told close family what we knew (which wasn’t a whole lot at that time) and scheduled doctors’ appointments for the week after the wedding, and then focused on the joy of our daughters’ wedding.

The day after Kaylee and Alex’s wedding, Dave and I were sitting in the Oncologists office…..hearing lots of very frightening stuff.  I will never forget when he walked in the door, crossed his arms and said “we have a fight on our hands”.  Yep, that was very reassuring!  We had appointments with two different oncologists that week, and then were referred to OHSU to meet with the man that we had been is told one of the best surgeons in the country for throat cancer, Dr. Peter Anderson.  We call him the man who saved Dave’s life.  He is AMAZING!  We were sitting in his office the next week and he gave us the first bit of good news.  Dave was a good candidate for robotic surgery to remove the tumor that was blocking half of his airway.  We left his office with surgery scheduled for the end of September.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and we were at OHSU and Dave was heading into surgery.  My sister, Kaylee and Alex were there as support.  The waiting was horrible.  We entertained ourselves by watching a very “interesting” family in the surgery waiting room.  I won’t go into detail, but my sister got a great picture that day that she posted on Facebook.  When we were told that Dave would soon be going to his room, we went up ahead of him.   I don’t know what I was expecting, but I’m telling you the reality of our situation slapped me in the face when I got off the elevator (with a bit of a detour with my new son-in-law….we got lost) and saw “Knight Cancer Center” on the door above where we were to enter to get to Dave’s room.  That was almost more than I could handle.  In my mind, the cancer was gone.  That’s what the surgery was for.  It was a stark reminder that Dave was a cancer patient, and we were still in the fight.  Dave was a patient at OHSU for five days.  Five VERY LONG days.  He doesn’t remember much of his time there which is good, I unfortunately, remember every minute, hour, day.  It was hard.  I spent much of it huddled on a small “bench” in the corner of his room.  I slept there (couldn’t even stretch out fully) and spent most of my time there for that five days.  I needed to be there, as Dave’s advocate, and for myself.  When I was away from him, I just needed to be back so I left his room just a couple of times a day to walk down to the cafeteria to get my Pepsi and some food.  The nurses were wonderful.  Each night they would get me tea before bed and a couple of nights when it was exceptionally cold in his room (he kept wanting the heat turned down), they brought me warm blankets.

After Dave was released from the hospital and came home, then the battle to gain back the weight he had lost began.  The cancer had spread to his lymph nodes so he was facing radiation.  We had six weeks to put some meat back on his bones, before they would, quite literally, burn his throat with radiation.  Oh, that was hard work, but we did get a few pounds back on him……..then it was time for radiation.  Six weeks of hell.  Six weeks of watching my husband lose more weight.  Six weeks of watching my husband get to the point where he could only eat just a few different foods, and even those didn’t  taste good.  Six weeks of counting down the days until it was over.

Radiation ended just three days before Christmas.  Kaylee and Alex were spending Christmas in Lynden……and I told Liberty not to waste her money flying home as I knew it would be difficult for her, and that Dave would not be really enjoying the day as he was hurting so much from the damage that radiation had done to his throat.  So, it was just Dave, me and the boys that year.  We had a good time, but it was so hard.   Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.

We had all looked at the end of radiation as the end of the struggle…..oh boy were we wrong.  The struggle continued for months, which turned into about a year.  Radiation is HARD to recover from.  It keeps on working in your system even when the treatment is over.  Getting Dave to eat enough food to start putting weight back on was hard…..a daily struggle.  When April came, he went up to visit Kaylee for two weeks.  He needed it and I needed it.  Kaylee showed him what a true food Nazi was……..she put an app on his phone and made him eat the required 2500 calories each day.

Slowly Dave started gaining weight.  Slowly he started getting stronger.  Slowly, we started living again.  Doing the things that we love.  As I sit here two years later and look back, it is still hard to put into words what this journey has been like.  It has been one of the hardest things I’ve every been through.  Yet, here we are two years later.  Dave is healthy again, and he is singing which many thought he would never do.  God has been with us through all of this, and He continues to walk by our side.  As those of you who have been through the cancer battle know, it never goes away.  Dave continues to get “scoped” every three months and so far those have come back clear.  I won’t lie……each time he has an appointment, we sit in fear that we are going to hear the dreaded words “it’s back”, but so far, so good.  At his last appointment with Dr. Anderson, he told us that if we can make it to the two year mark (from the end of treatment) with everything remaining clear, that Dave’s chances of being “cured” (which they won’t say until five years) go up substantially.    As we get closer to that two year mark, we are both starting to breathe just a little easier……..hoping and praying that we continue to hear those beautiful words “all clear”.

Two years later, we are still standing, still hoping, still loving and still looking to the future.


With Mother’s Day just a couple of days away, I have been thinking a lot about my mom.  About the influence she had over my life and what she and daddy did so many years ago to drastically change the lives to two little girls.  They truly were amazing people.  What many people may not know, is that my mom was a pillar of strength and courage.  She went through things in her life that would have broken many others, but she choose to use those experiences and setbacks as even more fuel for her desire to succeed and be her own woman.  By the way…….you might as well go get a cup of coffee, because I suspect this is going to be a very long post……

My mother was born in 1915…….a time when little girls were taught to be young ladies who got married and took care of the home.  My mother did not get that memo!

My mom faced adversity very early in life when she contracted polio as a toddler.  She didn’t talk a lot about that time, but did tell us that she had to relearn how to walk all over again when she recovered.  She carried some of the effects of her battle with polio with her through her entire 93 years of life.  I loved hearing mom tell stories of you younger years and teen years.  She definitely had an adventurous spirit and her stories about riding ponies in the mountain, being chased by Indians (no joke) and more tell me that she loved life and lived it to the fullest.  After my mother graduated from high school, she decided to attend college and off to Washington State College (later named Washington State University) she went.  She was the first woman to take an agriculture class at WSU (this was in the 30’s).  Unfortunately my mother’s college days were cut short when she contracted Tuberculosis in her early 20’s.  This is something else that she didn’t talk about a lot, but I do know that she was in and out of the hospital, battling the disease for much of her 20’s and was finally sent to Portland for a radical surgery to collapse one of her lungs in order to save her life.  My mother lived most of her adult life with just one lung.

My mom and dad met shortly after she recovered from TB and he was a patient at the VA hospital in Walla Walla (he was injured in WWII).  It didn’t take them long to realize that they were made for each other and they got married on August 15, 1945……..VJ (Victory over Japan) day.  My mother did NOT fall into the traditional role of most wives of that time.  She was an equal partner with my dad in pretty much everything they did.  She and daddy had two girls, Linda and Molly, just 13 months apart.  They also raised daddy’s two children from a previous marriage, Ginger and Max.   Both of my parents had a deep love of children…….and throughout their marriage they had approximately 25 foster kids in their home, choosing to adopt my sister and myself when our biological mothers’ parental rights were terminated.  During this time of raising kids, running a farm etc., my mom finished college and became a elementary school teacher.  She actually was my 2nd grade teacher.  The woman was driven, and once she set her sights on something, she went after it.


I often tell people that my mother was my coach and my dad was my cheerleader and this is so true.  I didn’t realize it when I was young, but my mother started teaching me at a very early age, that I could do anything I wanted to do in life and be anything I wanted to be.  She is the one who got me started in competitive public speaking.  She is the one who would stay up many late nights with me helping me write my 4-H demonstrations.  She is the one who made the coolest “Little Bo Peep” consume for me to wear for one of my demonstrations on caring for a bummer lamb.  Yep, I had a real live lamb up there with me and yep, there were times when we needed the clean-up crew after the demonstration was complete.  It is because of her support and coaching that I  competed at the State competition every year that I was eligible.  When I decided to join FFA, it was my mother who said “ask them if they have any public speaking competitions”…….and I still remember asking Mr. Clark that very question and having him hand me the FFA manual and turning to the FFA creed, he said “memorize this”…….I remember when I decided to attend WSU and major in Ag Ed…..mom didn’t say anything, but I could see it in her eyes…….she KNEW that as much as I loved FFA and everything that organization did for me, that my passion wasn’t teaching.  She was so happy when I decided to change careers and go into TV/Radio broadcasting.  I don’t think she expected me to go into sports broadcasting, but it was because of her that I did.  I loved sports and even though more than one professor told me that he’d “never seen a woman go into sports broadcasting” (remember this was in the 80’s), I had a stubborn determination to do just that.  My mom is the one who gave me that determination…..because of the example she set for us girls.  She really was all about ‘GIRL POWER” before that phrase was popular.  She was a woman who knew who she was and wasn’t afraid to “break the mold” and do things her way.  She was an amazing mother and I miss her greatly.

One thing that I realized during my Wings experience is that even though my parents are gone, they are always with me.  They were absolutely amazing people.  Were they perfect?  NO.  Nobody is perfect. But they did their best, and their best was pretty damn amazing.

So…….mom as you look down from Heaven, I want to say “thank you” for loving me unconditionally.  Thank you for giving me the tools to face this life with all the joys and sorrows that come from a life well lived.  Thank you for being a trailblazer and teaching me that I could be one too.  Thank you for being you.  I love you………Happy Mother’s Day!

Mom and Dad


Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted on my blog.   THAT is about to change.  Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Wings PES Seminar and it was an eye opening experience for me in so many ways.  There is so much on my heart right now that I don’t even know where to start.  What I do know is that I learned a lot about myself and the baggage I have carried around for much of my life.  Baggage that I have allowed to weigh me down and create much self doubt and a lot of insecurities.  If you were to ask me today the number one thing I learned in the seminar, I would say “I am uniquely and beautifully made.  I am ME”.  That verse popped into my head early into the four days and it has stayed with me since.  It has become my motto and I am committing to myself that when self doubt creeps into my mind again, this will be the first thing I think of.

So, many of you are probably wondering “what happens at Wings”……I honestly can’t put it into words, but it is an amazing time that I will never forget.  If I absolutely had to put it into words, I would say, it is a  time when I was able to strip away the walls and allow the true Ginny to shine through.  A time of total acceptance when I didn’t care what others thought and shared my heart and soul.  Much of the weekend, I felt like my heart was bubbling up through my eyes and down my cheeks…….and that happened in front of other people and that’s ok.  It was a time for me to deal with some things from my past that have been with me for a long time.  A time for me to let go of that scared little foster kid who was told by classmates that I was in foster care because nobody wanted me.  I was able to realize that it was way back in grade school that I the phrase fight or flight took root in my soul.  I have spent much of my life doing just that……you mess with me and my first choice is to flee…..avoid any type of conflict.  You back me into a corner and I will come out fighting……and it isn’t pretty.  This is something that I now realize and am working to change.  Something else that I have really struggled with since my time in foster care, is that feeling that what I bring to the table just isn’t good enough…….that I am not as smart as others……that I’m not as pretty as others.  I’m constantly seeing where I fall short.  That is something else that I’m committing to myself that is going to change.  Remember “I am unique and beautifully made……I am me”.  Yep, that is definitely my new motto!

I am fully aware that change isn’t instant and I know that I am going to make mistakes.  But you know what, each and every one of us is human, and we ALL make mistakes.  That’s something else I’ve struggled with for a long time.  I hate making mistakes and it is very hard for me to let go of past mistakes.  Again, something that I got out of the weekend is that the past is just that, the past.  I can’t change it and the only thing I can do is learn from it and move forward.  When this topic came up, the MercyMe song “Dear Younger Me” just started playing through my head.  If you have not heard that song before, look it up on YouTube.  It is very powerful and every word of it is true.

I have so much more to share, and so many words just running around in my head right now, but I’m going to stop here.  I need to organize my thoughts and words and then will share more.  I will say this.  I am so excited about the future.  I am so excited about finding Ginny again, a Ginny that has gotten lost over the years of trying to be what others wanted me to be, and not just being myself.  I am me…….and I can’t be anything else but who God made me to be and that’s ok.

To be continued…..


When Cancer Strikes

As I sit here looking over the past 8 months, I think I am at a place where I am more willing and able to talk about cancer invading our lives.  I have learned that when you are in the middle of the battle, it is just plain hard to even talk about, let alone write about……so I did the bare minimum.  Updating Dave’s Caringbridge site was about all I could handle, and even then, many times I did so with tears running down my face.

I am not going to try and fit everything into one post, I just can’t.  For one reason I just don’t think I can handle writing it all down at once emotionally and second…….there’s just too much in my head for one post.  So for this post, I am going to start at the beginning.

During the spring and summer of 2015 Dave had several different symptoms.  He was having trouble singing like he was used to and he also felt like he had something in his throat all of the time.  He said he felt “gaggy” most of the time.  He was also snoring like a lumber jack.   Three years before he had been to an ENT in town and had been diagnosed with an “over sized uvula”…..and acid reflux.  They put him on reflex meds and a few other things and it seemed to help.  Fast forward three years……to last summer.  Dave once again went to the ENT and explained his symptoms……and once again he was told that he had an over sized and inflamed uvula caused by acid reflux and once again he was put on meds and told to come back in a month.  There were no test, no “scope”……just the doc looking down his throat.  Fast forward a month.  Dave returns for a follow-up appointment with the doc and explains that there has been no real improvement and he STILL feels like he has something in the back of his throat.  Again the doctor does not scope him…….instead he tells Dave that he has “post nasal drip” and puts him on a nose spray and has him doing nasal rinses and sends him on his way.  About a week later, Dave was sitting at his desk at work and stretched……putting his hands on his neck…..and that is when he felt it.  A lump.  A BIG lump.  When I got home that night Dave showed it to me.  Those of you who know me know that I can be a bit of a Polyanna……..I look at the glass half full……so I told Dave that it was probably an inflamed lymph node because he had some type of infection.  Oh how I wish I had been right……..

It just so happened that Dave had a dentist appointment the day after he found the lump.  He asked our dentist about it and Dr. Timm did a lot of probing and took x-rays etc. and finally told Dave that it was not an infection and that he felt that Dave needed to follow-up with the ENT.  Dave called the ENT’s office and was told by the nurse that the lump could be a result of “stuff” gathering in the lymph node from the nasal rinses, but that she would schedule an appointment for the following week.  The doctor Dave had been seeing was out of town, so he was to see one of his partners.

Fast forward another week………and the day that the big C blew into our lives like a hurricane.  Dave went to his appointment and I anxiously waited at work for his phone call.  I had convinced myself that it would be nothing.   Just an infection…..oh how I wish I had been right.  Dave’s appointment was early in the morning and my phone rang about 9:30 AM……I picked it up hoping to hear “it’s nothing”…….instead I heard “they think it is cancer”.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember a whole lot immediately after he said those words.  I do remember getting up and going outside so I could talk in “private”.  I remember sobbing and not much more.  I remember Dave telling me that they were scheduling a CT Scan and needle biopsy ASAP.  I remember him telling me that the doctor “scoped” him (finally) and that there was a large mass on his tonsil.  I remember just crying and trying to assure him that everything would be ok……trying to convince myself as well.  After we finally hung up I remember walking……walking…..walking and crying.  After I semi pulled myself together,  I went back into work and just sat staring at my computer trying to keep myself from falling apart all over again…….and then a co-worker came up and asked me if everything was ok……and she touched my shoulder.  Poor Sheila……the tears started again.  We went outside and I remember her just hugging me while I sobbed.  I couldn’t even talk……just cried and finally I just blurted out THEY THINK DAVE HAS CANCER.  After what seemed like forever I was able to pull myself together and explain what was going on to her.  Sheila if you read this…..please know that you were my angel that day.  I don’t know what I would have done without your listening hear, loving heart, and sweet spirit.

I tried to go back to work but know that I didn’t get much done that day…….and then Dave called to say that they had scheduled the CT scan for that afternoon.  I sent my supervisor an e-mail explaining what was happening and left……..

To be continued…..





Jumbled Thoughts

I have had a post brewing in my head for about a month now (ever since Dave’s surgery) but don’t think I am quite ready to post it.  To be perfectly honest my feelings are two raw right now and I fear that I putting those thoughts in writing could leave me a crying mess……..so I am going avoid that for now.

Today was Dave’s third radiation treatment and the first one where I was able to go back and see them fit him with the mask and “snap” him into place.  The ladies at the cancer center were wonderful and offered Dave a warm blanket which he said he didn’t need.  They allowed me to snap a couple of pictures which Dave wanted and then shooed me out before the treatment actually began.  Let me say here and now that I am extremely claustrophobic and watching them bolt Dave to the table may or may not have caused a few tears to fall (stupid tears).   After he was done with treatment, we met with the doc.  We both really like her.  She can be a bit “awkward” when talking but she doesn’t hide anything and is very straight forward.  She showed us the computer generation of where the radiation beams are aimed at and hitting and talked with us about the potential side effects.  They are zapping the left side of his face where the tumor and affected lymph nodes were with a higher dose than the right side.  The appointment actually went very well.

It is still just to hard to say the words “Dave has Cancer”.  After he had his surgery, I found myself saying “Dave Had Cancer” until we started meeting with the docs over here and realized that they still consider that he has cancer, even if the tumor and lymph nodes have been removed, with the  chance of some microscopic disease in there, they say there is………not so sure I like that.

As I look ahead to the Holiday season, I want so desperately to find joy among all we are going through.  Joy in a baby who came to earth to save us from our sins that grew up into a man who died for our sins.  The joy in being with my family and celebrating the season.  The joy that we have medicine that can cure diseases like cancer (coming soon my thoughts about this horrible beast called cancer), and the joy that Dave is here with us and that doctors have used words like “curable”.

Many people have reminded me to take care of myself through all of this.  I am trying but it is hard.  Any time I feel like I am tired or frustrated, or don’t feel well etc., I feel like I don’t have any room to complain because Dave is going through much worse.  It is just a difficult road and I have no idea how to walk it.  I’m doing the best I can but if you happen to see me stumble, please feel free to lend a helping hand.

Well, I’d better close this for now.  Thanks for coming here and reading my jumbled thoughts.



About “The” Picture

So……nothing like having a picture that you took going viral to push one into a blog post.  So I thought I would share how “the” prom picture came about.  Over 3 years ago our daughter Kaylee was a senior in high school and looking forward to her senior prom.  That same weekend we had a house full of body builders as my best friends’ son and his buddies needed a place to stay when they were in Bend for a body building competition.  My best friend was also here to watch her son compete and be with her buddy Kaylee as she got ready for her senior prom.

When the dates arrived and it came time for pictures, the prom kids and several of us headed outside to get pictures.  As I walked by Ryan (the body builder on the left in the yellow almost not there speedo) and whispered in his ear “I dare you”.  Now when I whispered those words, I had a visual of Ryan alone coming out and disrupting the pictures…..oh boy was I wrong.  About halfway through the pictures the three body builders literally burst out the door and started posing with the prom kids.  Poor Kaylee (the one that looks like she has a seatbelt on) almost burst out in tears.  Take a very close look at her face.  The other kids had a blast with it while Kaylee remained mortified the entire time.  The “exorcism” taking place behind the kids are my two sons Connor and Reuben who photo bomb any picture they can.

There is actually more to this story than just that picture.  It just so happened that the prom and body building competition were actually held at the same venue (one upstairs and one in the basement).  The body building boys decided that they also needed to visit Kaylee and her friends at the prom.  Thank God they at least put pants on for that.  They did almost get themselves thrown out on their ear by a very feisty and SMALL principal (female).  So, that is the story of “the” picture.

The Ultimate Prom Picture
The Ultimate Prom Picture