Monthly Archives: April 2012

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words or More- By Danee Kiernan of Bouncing with Style: Starting Over but Not From Scratch

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Danee Kiernan

By Danee Kiernan

Life is Almost Always Good and co-author of Bouncing with Style. #31

There is a photo that sits on my desk.  It’s a picture four women smiling….Sisters.  These women range in age from 56-72 years old.  They resemble each other and yet are distinctly unique individuals.

I have looked at this photo many times and they have smiled back often, but it wasn’t until recently that I shared more than a passing glance.  Beautiful, strong and confident, these women have been role models in my life.  They were a part of my childhood, growing up years and adulthood.

The four sisters speak volumes with smiling faces that are frozen in time.  

I pause on each face.  I gain strength from this photo.  I feel the sisters with me, pouring their love, encouragement and positive energy into my soul.  I feel a bond with them….A bond of understanding and empathy, of hope, and of love.

The four sisters were raised by alcoholic parents and grew up in poverty.  The four sisters had a father that sexually abused his daughters. The four sisters had a mother who was a victim herself. 

One sister was a victim of rape at 18.  She raised her child as a single mother. 

One sister lost her love in an accident.  In a time before computers and cell phones, she didn’t learn of his death until days later.  The man never knew of his child, and that sister gave birth, said goodbye forever and handed her baby to a couple who had waited for years for a child of their own.

 One sister lost her child in a car accident. 

One sister married but never had any children.  One sister lost her child to suicide. 

One sister lost her grandson in a motorcycle accident. One sister rescued her lost child from addiction.

One sister had a spouse that fought in Viet Nam. One sister rescued her daughter from an abusive spouse.

One sister experienced divorce.  One sister suffered a long, emotionally void marriage.

One photo. Four sisters.  Their dancing eyes, open expressions and beautiful spirits speak their lives of experience…..strength, wisdom, pain, hope, vulnerability, happiness, heartache, survival and love.

A bond of sisterhood posing for a picture, and through my lens, I see the lives of four women smiling back at me.

Danee Kiernan is a writer, parent, entrepreneur and co-author of Bouncing with Style: Starting over but Not From Scratch.  She connects with others based on her experiences as a full time woman, full time mom (adoptive, birth & foster), stay at home mom, working woman and business owner.  She hopes that sharing her experiences openly will help others to find their bounce.  Danee is a powerful advocate for women’s rights, especially every woman’s right to choose her own destiny and build the life that she desires.

Danee KIernan earned a BS degree in Elementary Education with an early childhood specialization from Iowa Wesleyan College and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danee believes in the importance of love, family and pursuing dreams.   She makes her home in Wisconsin, where she and husband Jim, are thoroughly enjoying the experience of raising their 11 children. 

You can reach Danee Kiernan at daneekiernan@gmail.com

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An Impasse-By Danee Kiernan of Bouncing with Style: Starting Over but Not From Scratch

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Danee Kienan co-author Bouncing with Style

Danee Kienan co-author Bouncing with Style

By Danee Kiernan Life is Almost Always Good and co-author of Bouncing With Style. #30
Life here has been good. January is almost over and we have settled into the post holiday peaceful hum of family life again.
Emerson is five months old already. She is a joy and we relish every moment with her.
This spring, our boys will turn eight, our girls will turn six, our two year old will turn three and in the summer, our 18 year old will be off to college.
Time really does fly.
My son’s former Foster Mother, Tammy, called me the other day. She and I have become pretty good friends. We have stayed in contact over the years so she knows that Torren is safe and loved, and so that Torren has a connection to his life before he became a Kiernan.
Tammy called to tell me about the two beautiful children in her care who will soon be in need of an adoptive family. “Would we be interested? “ She asked.
My heart skipped a beat…..I ALWAYS, ALWAYS have room in my heart and my life for one (or two) more ……My family has grown in love and has been so incredibly enriched by each new member who enters our lives.
Since that call, every couple of days I get an e-mail from Tammy informing me of the progress occurring in little E & A’s lives.
Tammy and her husband have fostered about 30 kids over the past 15 years. I am in awe of their emotional ability to pour such love and commitment into these little people and then still be able let them go to start their new lives.
She laughs and says that she is in awe of our ability to raise these little ones into adulthood…..
We are a match made in heaven!
The problem is my husband, who is not so interested in fostering or raising any more kids other than the ones we have. Sigh…..
And here we are……At an impasse.
There is no way to negotiate. No way to split down the middle. No way to compromise. We either go forward or we don’t.
Stay tuned……

Danee Kiernan is a writer, parent, entrepreneur and co-author of Bouncing with Style: Starting over but Not From Scratch. She connects with others based on her experiences as a full time woman, full time mom (adoptive, birth & foster), stay at home mom, working woman and business owner. She hopes that sharing her experiences openly will help others to find their bounce. Danee is a powerful advocate for women’s rights, especially every woman’s right to choose her own destiny and build the life that she desires.
Danee KIernan earned a BS degree in Elementary Education with an early childhood specialization from Iowa Wesleyan College, and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danee believes in the importance of love, family and pursuing dreams. She makes her home in Wisconsin, where she and husband Jim, are thoroughly enjoying the experience of raising their 11 children.
You can reach Danee Kiernan at daneekiernan@gmail.com

Eleven-By Danee Kiernan of Bouncing with Style: Starting Over but Not From Scratch

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Danee Kienan co-author Bouncing with Style

Danee Kienan co-author Bouncing with Style

By Danee Kiernan Life is Almost Always Good and co-author of Bouncing With Style. #29
Today is a big day for me. I am changing my mind set and bio to read that I have eleven children instead of twelve……
After an unexpected, 18 month trip to hell and back, I have suddenly surfaced with the realization that DJ is no longer mine……
He no longer knows me or remembers me…He no longer runs to me when he is scared….Or when he is happy.
DJ is no longer here to laugh with, cuddle with or sing to…. He is not in my arms, being parented by me, living in my home, interacting with me daily, or receiving the love I have to give.
I think about DJ every hour of every day. He’s in my heart forever.
Each day is a reminder that this beautiful, innocent little boy will be missing from my life forever…And us from his….. He is not coming back……
I have not lost a child due to illness, accident or death, just due to our legal system. A system that says the genetic connection is far more important than I would have ever imagined.
These past 18 months have drained me. They have been emotionally exhausting….. I’ve stumbled and fallen….. Hard.
As the dust clears, and I slowly pick myself up, I look around surveying the damage. I see that I am still here… We are still here, holding on to ourselves and each other. Surviving.
How do I explain to anyone how I feel? How do I share how awkward it is when people ask how many children I have……How do I share how it feels to send out holiday cards with a photo of almost all of our kids….? How do I box up DJ’s photos and keepsakes for another day?
Is it OK to acknowledge DJ as one of my own? Do I qualify his importance in my life by giving him a tag line (always in my heart)? Is it alright to mention him in the number of children in our family tally, even though he isn’t here?
Am I over thinking?? Over feeling?? Crazy?? I am at a crossroads. Not because I want to be, but because I just am.
I don’t know why, but it’s time. I have to let go…..
May God bless DJ and please, please God, keep him safe.

Danee Kiernan is a writer, parent, entrepreneur and co-author of Bouncing with Style: Starting over but Not From Scratch. She connects with others based on her experiences as a full time woman, full time mom (adoptive, birth & foster), stay at home mom, working woman and business owner. She hopes that sharing her experiences openly will help others to find their bounce. Danee is a powerful advocate for women’s rights, especially every woman’s right to choose her own destiny and build the life that she desires.
Danee Kiernan earned a BS degree in Elementary Education with an early childhood specialization from Iowa Wesleyan College and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danee believes in the importance of love, family and pursuing dreams. She makes her home in Wisconsin, where she and husband Jim, are thoroughly enjoying the experience of raising their 11 children.
You can reach Danee Kiernan at daneekiernan@gmail.com