Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Linda Reilly-Blue - This name isn’t a household name like Britney Spears or Madonna, but it definitely should be!
Linda is a mother to every child in this picture and she has drastically changed each and every one of their lives. This story is a reminder of how wonderful the human spirit can be!
Throughout the years Linda suffered multiple miscarriages and then finally gave birth to a son, Thomas. Sadly, Thomas passed away at 9-days of age due to a lung issue. Linda had worked at the Children's Home (in Cromwell CT) for many years and saw numerous children who desperately needed families. That is when she and her husband decided to adopt. She says, “If it weren't for his death, I don't think we would have ever pursued this other life. Six children have a family because we survived the death of a child and we tried to turn his death into something good. It worked!"
You may notice this picture has seven children in it and that’s because Linda did end up giving birth to another son, Nicholas, who will be 12 in November. During the midst of her adoptions she became pregnant with Nicholas and they went from having no kids to 3 kids within fifteen months. All of her children came from the Department of Children & Family (DCF). She said, “DCF just kept asking us about one more and we just always said yes. You know when your child is your child.”
Linda is now a single mother and you may be asking yourself- how does she do this, how can she afford this, how can she handle this??...and her answer would be… “My true passion is children. I love everything about them; they bring me joy and pleasure every day. Not just my kids, all kids. I am in awe of their outlook on life, their energy, their creativity, thoughts, their openness, and their resiliency.”
Doesn’t she sound awesome already!?! :) But if you’re ever fortunate enough to meet her, you will instantly feel her kind, passionate and nurturing spirit. Just to give you a little more insight, when I launched this blog and sent a note around to some of my friends and family, this is how she responded…
“Miss Kenya, You kill me! That is all I have to say. Every time I am with you I am lifted up by your sweet, sweet spirit. Just your beautiful smile inspires me to feel happier and be more kind to everyone around me. I look forward to reading every word you post and be inspired even more by you. Good job!!!!! Hope to see you some time soon. Wishing you grace and peace, Linda”
Those words meant so much, and still do…
OK, back to the kids… Here’s the list of adopted ages: KJ was 7 and will be 21 in October, Daquan was 5 and will be 18 in October, JJ was 9 and is now 14, Jeremy was 5 and is now 14, Carlos was 5 and will be 10 in September and Virginia was 17 and turned 18 in June.
Check out the magic of the Universe…
Daquans name is Daquan Thomas and KJ's name is Karari Joseph…her son that passed was Thomas Joseph. Also, Thomas was born in 1996 and both JJ and Jeremy were born in 1996. I think there are many amazing messages in this. How wild!
A few other incredible things about her….
She has traveled to about 25 countries and 46 states * She took the kids cross-country for 10 weeks in 2006 and to New Zealand and Australia for 8 weeks in 2009 * On July 15, she welcomed four foreign exchange students for 16 days - one from Italy, Spain, China and Hong Kong. All teenage boys! * She sits on the Children’s Home Board and on the Autism Speaks Leadership Board * She is the Executive Director of Reilly and Associates, LLC. - An in-home parent training and support agency *She works as a birth doula (for fun mostly) and on average attends one birth a month * She also co-teaches a woman’s Sunday school class at her church.
I can’t even imagine…
Recently, our Women’s Group (The Women Advocates for Youth – The WAY) honored Linda as a “Woman of Achievement” and she brought all of her children to the event. I watched them all interact and I could see the love they had for each other. When it was time for Linda to give her speech, she spoke a few words of gratitude and then it was time for the children to speak. All I can say is that it was probably one of the most powerful moments in my life. I knew this type of deep compassion existed, but I wouldn’t of imagined that I’d be lucky enough to witness it first-hand.
I feel privileged to call Linda Reilly-Blue my friend, but more importantly, those children are extremely fortunate to call her Mom!