The Choice Effect

Defying Conventions: Michelle Vandepas's Inspiring Journey Through Adoption and Beyond

August 30, 2023 Sonny Von Cleveland Season 1 Episode 6
The Choice Effect
Defying Conventions: Michelle Vandepas's Inspiring Journey Through Adoption and Beyond
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Do you dare to tread the path less taken? Take a seat and prepare to be enthralled by the stirring tale of Michelle Vandepas, a woman who defied conventions to foster and adopt children, forever altering the course of her life. Michelle doesn't hold back in sharing her raw, emotional journey with us - from the heartfelt joy of welcoming an infant into her home to the arduous task of navigating through the emotional trauma often intertwined with adoption.

Unpredictability is the only certainty in life, and this is especially true when raising teenagers. Michelle recounts her trials and triumphs, and how fostering an understanding bond during times of teenage angst can lead to lasting connections. She doesn't shy away from discussing the grieving process, the importance of dreaming, and how to maintain your equilibrium when the unexpected, like a pandemic, derails your plans.

The conversation takes a thought-provoking turn as we explore the concept of acceptance and growth during life's challenging moments. Guided by her intuition and patience, Michelle opens up about her psychological journey during her daughter's adoption process. Gradually, we unearth the profound power of decision-making and the pivotal role it plays in shaping our lives. As we wrap up, Michelle leaves us with an invaluable lesson on the importance of openness, hard work, and gratitude in fostering meaningful relationships. This episode is a treasure trove of insightful conversations, profound stories, and practical wisdom.

Connect With Michelle!!

MichelleVandepas.com
GracePointPublishing.com
Humandesignbooks.com

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Thank you for joining us on the Choice Effect Podcast. This is Sonny Von Cleveland, reminding you that every challenge is an opportunity for transformation. Your past doesn't define you; your choices do. Let's keep inspiring, healing, and choosing paths that lead to our best selves. Until next time, stay empowered and remember: You have the power to change your story.

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Speaker 1:

And today we have a very special guest. Nestled in the picturesque mountains of Colorado, michelle Vandepas is not just a seasoned author, speaker and coach, but also an individual with a powerful story of choices and the rippling effects they've had on her life. Among the chirping of the birds, the soft gush of water from her goldfish pond and occasionally even a mountain lion's roar, michelle crafts stories, empowers lives and seeks inspiration. But her most profound choice? At 44, michelle decided to adopt her daughter, a decision stemming from what she calls a downloaded inspiration. Today she's here to delve deep into that choice, its challenges, in the many ways it shaped her life. Welcome Michelle.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. That was Quart the intro. Happy to be here.

Speaker 1:

Well, it's a pleasure to have you, and you, young lady, have an amazing, amazing story and I'm so excited to have you here and to dive into this. Can you walk us through that moment of downloaded inspiration and what it felt like?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I wasn't even thinking about having children. I had never really thought about it. I wasn't looking at it as an option. I was 44.

Speaker 2:

I'd been married a long time, pretty happy, and literally I was walking in the mountains and I got this download, I got this message from God whatever you want to call it inspiration that you're going to adopt a child and she's on her way and basically what the heck does that mean? And I've only had, like I find myself pretty intuitive, but I've only really had a few times in my life where I felt like this was direct, like divine guidance, right, and any of us are lucky to ever get it. And I've had maybe three times in my whole life, and this was definitely one of them. It was like a voice in my head and so I went home and at the time, 20 years ago, everybody was adopting from Russia and I kind of did a quick look at what that would look like and by you know, within an hour, I'm like no, that's not for me, and so I sort of set it aside for a little while until I just kept nudging and just kept nudging at me. Here we are, 20 years later.

Speaker 1:

And then she made that choice. Navigating the adoption process is daunting, to say the least. How did you overcome the overwhelming feeling of how to get started? I mean, this just came out of nowhere for you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it did. Well, I did research after I, I researched a little bit after Russia, right about other places, and then somehow I just landed on the foster care system. Now I have a lot to say about that and how broken it is. I'm sure you have a lot to say about different institutions that are. So you know, unless you're going to ask me about that, I'm not going to go into that. However, at the time I did not understand the system and I just went and my husband and I just made the decision to go foster adopt. We thought it would be a little easier than it was and we just followed, actually, the steps of the case worker put in front of me. I was so naive. I was so naive at the time I did not realize that you couldn't have locks on the inside or the outside of a closet, right, really, I mean looking back on it now I'm like, oh yeah, you don't want to have locks.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, I guess that's right.

Speaker 2:

It's like that's obvious because in the last 20 years we've talked a lot about abuse and trauma and all those things. And you know, we had a closet, the door didn't close properly and so we had a lock on it from the outside Just one of those little things that you slide across to lock our closet because the door kept swinging open and the case worker is like no, no, no, you can't have that. That lock's got to come out. I'm like what are you talking about? She said you know, sometimes parents locked our kids in the closet. And I'm like what? I don't believe I was.

Speaker 1:

Now I've navigated the foster system in a lot of different ways in the last 20 years and I realize that's the least of some of the abuse and we can definitely talk about that because I think it's something that needs to be have a conversation about, and I think there's a twofold side to fostering and the adoption process. Some people do it out of, obviously, out of love and the desire to be a parent and provide a life for a child and to help a child that doesn't have parents to have that family environment. But there are a contingency of people that do it for the financial benefits from the government and then there's just some sadistic people right, and because of that they have rules like that with those closets.

Speaker 2:

Right right, they need rules like that. Looking back, they need rules like that. I mean, I can't believe how naive I was at the time.

Speaker 1:

And how old was the daughter when you adopted her?

Speaker 2:

So well, she was 30 days when we got her. But there's a whole backstory about you know we were fostering, so we took in a lot of kids over a few years, because that's part of the process.

Speaker 1:

Oh, so this didn't just start with. This wasn't just one girl you adopted. You opened up a foster home.

Speaker 2:

We had to because that's part of the foster at the time in our county, right, I'm sure it's different everywhere at the time in our county, but the process was you, you, you want to foster, adopt, you start fostering. And we fostered a lot of kids that, technically, were supposed to be up for adoption. That all went back home to their families, which is the right thing, Sure, and we had the kit for keeping kids and their birth families whenever possible, and so mostly, that was all the right thing. I will say there were a few I would have done differently, but, but we got a call and here's a here's part of the decision, part of the life-changing decision. We got a call from the caseworker. We have a little girl that needs Just 48 hour care. She's never going to be up for adoption. Do you? You know, can you take her for a weekend, give the birth family a break, what? So I'm like, yeah, okay, why not? We're set up, I'm not doing anything. You know, when the universe I have this thing, when the universe knocks, you answer.

Speaker 2:

Thanks so I went and got the little girl. On the way home I called my husband, said I don't think she's ever going back to this house and she never did.

Speaker 1:

Wow, yeah, that's it. What did they just not want the daughter?

Speaker 2:

so I never think it's a case of not wanting. Just to be clear, I think every birth mother really struggles and all, and for the most part, wants their kids. I agree options to that. There's some exceptions, but I think a lot of mothers struggle. They may not be able to get through their own addiction or mental health or whatever else is going on. But I don't think for the most part mothers are like I don't want this kid, somebody take it right. Just a moment of frustration, right.

Speaker 1:

And I do agree that it's it's it's it's in the best interest of the child. If you are in a position that you don't You're not capable of raising a child or caring for the child that you find the best solution for it and and I think that that's Probably a smarter move, as opposed to the alternative decisions which we've seen some tragic and horrific Alternatives we have.

Speaker 2:

We have, and you know, my guess is a lot of these kids and deaf and person. However, moving, moving on to the subject at hand, no, she was with her elderly grandmother at the time and the grandmother needed a break and the birth mother wasn't Able, because of addiction and other things, to care for the child. So but when I picked up, I just I knew the way that the grandmother handed me the child and handed me toys. I knew I didn't know yet that I would be the one to take the child I just knew that child was not going back in that home.

Speaker 1:

Hmm, and then you ended up keeping the daughter.

Speaker 2:

I did so. It was. It was over a year and there were mandatory visits and all kinds of Pretty traumatic. It was a pretty traumatic year for everybody Family, adoptive family and, of course, the child. But I put my daughter on my back and Walked a labyrinth every single week for a year and said, please, god, send this child to the best home, because there's no guarantee in the foster system that, even if You're signed up that you're gonna get the kid you fostered. One of that, one of the things that's really broken, or used to be pretty broken, is you'd foster a kid and then they get taken from you and placed in some adoptive home that the kids never even met. That's that family.

Speaker 1:

I've actually seen that here recently and so I'm imagining that that's still an active process. There's a couple here that they fostered a child and that was in care, and I don't know the intricacies of it and I'm not gonna Speculate on how that all worked, but I know that they would go and see the kid every week. They went to see that the kid and spend some time with the kid every even did some Home visits where they would bring the kid home for the weekend, and then another family came in out of nowhere and and adopted the child, and so that's got to be traumatic on a child, right traumatic for everybody for everybody right I?

Speaker 1:

Don't understand. I guess I'm not gonna pretend to understand the system and and and, and. I guess we're not gonna dive too far into that Because that's not the point of the show, but I think it definitely needs to be spoken about and in. Kudos to you for for Speaking on that and and taking on that. Given the reactions from those around you that were mixed, how do you, how do you handle the varying degrees of support and resistance when you made your choice to adopt?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it was amazing how a Lot of my friends at the time also did not have kids, because you hang out with people like you, right, and there was a lot of resistance from friends, a lot of Not understanding when I suddenly had kids in no, I can't just pop out for a drink right now and there was a lot of, obviously, support. My family was supportive of everything. There were a lot of supportive people. I Think when you become a parent, your focus just shifts and you know you go into the family, right, and so it almost doesn't. I mean obviously matters if you have support, the more support you have better. But even if you have support or not have support, you just are making the decision because you don't have a choice that you're going to the family first and you're supporting the family at least good parents do right. And so I. I Just focused on what I needed to do, the matter at hand, right, with all the foster kids and then eventually my daughter, and focused on what I could do and Learned how to be a mother.

Speaker 1:

There? Yeah, it's. I just I think there's there's a profoundness to what you do and as much as I didn't, I don't want to focus on the foster care system. I almost can't help it because it's I believe in speaking authentically and having authentic conversations, and I just Reflecting on your comment that both the foster care and the adoption systems are broken. Can you expand on some specific experiences that made you feel that way? Like what was it that made you Realize this or feel that way?

Speaker 2:

well, I've had a lot of experience and a lot of conversations with lots of people in all aspects of the adoption triad now, over 20 years. I'm not an expert. I'm not a therapist. I can just speak from my experience, which is I wish we got training about things like don't put locks on and cover doors, and a Little bit of training around things like maybe you want to have a food drawer where the kids allowed to just get food any time, day or night, because they may have not been able to eat in the past.

Speaker 2:

No real training around the emotional trauma that everybody goes through. No real real training about what's called the primal wound and what happens when you pull a child out of their birth family. No real training about how I needed to really navigate my daughter's milestones and all the triggers and traumas that were brought up. We laugh about it now, but every year on my daughter's birthday She'd take scissors and cut all her hair off, and it was years before I realized that that was just a trauma response to her birthday. Right, it took me. It took me a while to understand what was going on there and you know, as as there's just not enough training now, 20 years ago there wasn't even a conversation really around triggers and trauma like there is today. I mean, obviously there were therapists and so forth. Yeah, we've come a long way in the last five or six years.

Speaker 2:

There's been a lot of evolution right, our consciousness is different, so now even my consciousness is like well, duh, that's obvious, right, she cut her hair every year on her birthday. You'd think there'd be a clue there, but at the time there wasn't that kind of open conversation and I didn't have the awareness that I have today around trauma and so forth.

Speaker 1:

Just for just for context. How old was she when you got her? So she was 30 days old, and then she was just a year, and then you went through a year, and so she's still and I think that there's something Significant about that, because she held on to that into her younger years to cut her hair on her birthday. I mean, she couldn't have started that one till she was what? Six, seven, eight years old.

Speaker 2:

No, she was like three. Really she was young.

Speaker 1:

And see, wow, see that that's, that's trauma, right, that real trauma inside the mind of of a child.

Speaker 2:

Right and it not even consciously right right, that's subconscious trauma right, we were always open that she was adopted. But I remember her Turning to me one year and I don't remember how old she was, but it was definitely a milestone and it's like why didn't you ever tell me I was adopted? And I'm like you know, I'm the mother here just asking the question knows you know you were adopted right.

Speaker 2:

Right, right, and so she had never really taken it in. But she wouldn't have known to ask the question. Right, she was adopted, right, right, oh, and we had visits with birth family the whole time. She's growing up and everything, so she knew, okay, but she didn't, she didn't get it right.

Speaker 1:

Wow, and how old is she now?

Speaker 2:

She's 20.

Speaker 1:

Oh, they're nice and I'm good life happy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I would say good life and happy, and I would say Anyone who's experienced trauma of any kind it takes a while to work through all that and come to.

Speaker 1:

It's not an overnight thing.

Speaker 2:

And being 20 and don't go living through COVID as a teenager and all those things is also traumatic for most people. Being 20 of these days is not the easiest age.

Speaker 1:

I'm not saying it ever was well, yeah, right, especially when you have several Generations that are blaming your generation for just primarily existing, and I think that there's a lot of psychological Damage that happens to that. You know, when they're blaming this generation, like, oh, you're so lazy, or you're so this, or you're so that and it's you know, I feel like it's it's generations are blaming newer generations because they're living a life that you didn't know necessarily how to live or that you didn't have the opportunity to live. You know, like we see, especially post COVID, more people are are working from home or creating their own businesses or finding a way to monetize their lifestyle and they're living the lives that they want to live. And I think older generations that that came from you know working hard 10, 12 hours a day, 60 hours a week to provide for your family. Look at that and maybe even out of a, maybe from a place of some sort of jealousy or are Blame me because they think that they're lazy.

Speaker 1:

And to an extent, I mean I understand where the the mindset comes from because you know, as a business owner, I would like my employees to show up five minutes early at least so that you're prepared to go to work, and instead, most often than not they're five minutes late, and it's it's. They don't put an emphasis on, on punctuality and and and it's. I think it's wrong to just blame an entire generation for existing, but reflect it's clear that that this choice has made you more compassionate and patient. Can you share an anecdote or a moment that really cemented that realization for you, that that you have grown in compassion doing this work?

Speaker 2:

Oh, Wow, every day I have to still remind myself to be compassionate and loving. And that's just in the world in general, because it's a pretty, I have a pretty, I have a pretty good life right, and it's still not.

Speaker 2:

Every day is not the easiest thing and it's pretty crazy out there the anxiety, the anger, the energy on the planet, the social media frenzy, the noise there's so much noise there's so much right, and so I would say I don't know about a moment, but I'm constantly Reminding myself to have compassion first, and that's with my family, with my team, with my friends, with myself, and A moment I don't know. There were quite a few moments, I think. You know, raising a teenage girl's not easy, anyway, any parent would agree to that. And then every teenage girl has got stuff going on right now or has had right and, I think, a couple of moments that. So here's a story. I reminded my daughter that she didn't even remember we were at school one day. She just learned how to drive and she got mad at me and she got in the car, drove away and left me there.

Speaker 1:

Oh, wow and Right.

Speaker 2:

So you know, 16, 15, whatever 16. I have a choice to make right? Do I get mad? Do I ground her? Do I take away the car keys? What do I do right? And my goal has always been to make sure that I have a relationship with her for the rest of our lives facts, so that would that's always been my goal.

Speaker 2:

Oh, and I was 15 once and there were years when I didn't really have a relationship with my mother why don't you go home? And then she got home. I said that was your drive. She said okay, mom. And I said, okay, good. And then later she came up and gave me a hug and that was that. Now I could have chosen to take a different route.

Speaker 1:

You could have.

Speaker 2:

I could have right and I would have been justified. And lots of other parents were telling. When I shared that story with a couple just close friends, they're like, oh my gosh, it would take him the keys away. I'm like you know that doesn't really serve either of us in the long run. It really doesn't.

Speaker 1:

Like it just perpetuates the anger at the end of the day.

Speaker 2:

She's angry. She got me for something.

Speaker 1:

I get pissed at people all the time, sure and I mean it's it's, it's a good testament that it's our response is what Continues a problem going forward right and we have the ability to respond to a circumstance in a way that that can alleviate anger and stress, because doubling down on I would, I would have done the same thing, right, like it, taking the keys away and punishing a child for for essentially expressing themselves and not not knowing, maybe, how to verbalize it, but just needing that space in and and I think you did the right thing. I think you perpetuate the, the, the anger in the emotion in the moment if you Respond out of anger, right, I mean, and and to that you mentioned that things don't go as planned or didn't always go as planned. Can you share an unexpected turn or a surprise that this choice brought into your life?

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, as any mom, I had all these goals and visions and dreams for her right, I think, going off to university.

Speaker 2:

And that's not happening, at least not this year. And you know all these things that you have to let go of. And that's real life, all the stuff about what school is supposed to look like in Kobe, and you know she didn't get senior prom and all that kind of thing, and you know that's, that's a grief process for a, a mother as well, and I didn't realize that I had even had any of those dreams or aspirations. Like I Don't see myself as living through my daughter at all and yet, and yet you know, and she didn't get to do, do all that stuff in high school, I felt really super sad. I'm not sure I'm exactly answering your question, but I think there's a choice of Just always letting go and being with what is in life, because you really don't have a choice and if you are always trying to control this kind of stuff, you know God's gonna come down with that two by four, one way or another, and so it's just how we get to react or respond to it.

Speaker 1:

I agree, I think we, I think we share the grief of our children.

Speaker 1:

I mean we Obviously we want.

Speaker 1:

I mean that had to be traumatic for a lot of teenagers, ovid, that I mean they worked and Studied and went to school for their whole life and then building up to this grand moment that we all Understand is coming as we're going through our academic career, in our, in our young life and and then to have that taken away because you, you don't get that back right, like you can't have that. And I mean I'm sure lots of kids grow up hearing other parents or Other adults that talk about missing prom and how much that that affected them. And so they they grew up like, oh man, I can't wait for prom, I can't wait for prom. And now that when you're in ninth grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, you're seeing the current seniors have a prom and so you're just so excited, I mean there's the dresses in the tuxedos and everybody gets to, you know look their absolute best and they're celebrating finishing the school and that's it's got to be traumatic, right? I think that's, that's a, it's a sad event and it's, you know.

Speaker 2:

It's that, plus all the expectations we put on our kids and and expectations that you know my parents probably put on me, and you just have to let it all go.

Speaker 1:

At the end of the day, you do right. You can't rewind the clock, there's no do-overs, you have to let it go, and then that's the only choice that you actually have in the scenario is to let it go and live for today, in what's coming, keep your eyes on what's coming in the future, and then we can't make up for things, and so we have to accept what happens and understand that it's all part of the experience of life, right? Nobody has a guidebook, nobody gets an instruction manual. When you come here to say this is going to happen, so, and you know and I think it's good leadership, though it seems to me like you would have been in a position to help console her through that and so that she can understand to grow from the situation and take lessons from it and learn from it and at least come out the other side with a better understanding of loss and how to respond to loss.

Speaker 2:

Well, I do think that I was super blessed to become a mother later in life. I don't think I would have been this patient in my 20s, and so for me I see it as a blessing, although you know there's challenges with that as well. I get called her grandma all the time. But but I do see the fact that I've lived a little bit of life and had my own struggles, that I'm out. That is easier for me to do something like just take an Uber home and swallow my own anger around. The suggestion right, I may not have done when I was 30.

Speaker 1:

Well. I mean, I think, that's a part of evolution, right? Yeah, right. And your decision making seems to be grounded in intuition, which I think is phenomenal. How do you balance that gut feeling with the practical aspects and information at hand? Right, because intuition is a very instinctual, instinctual feeling. And so how do you balance that, seeing what's in front of you and you know the aspects and information? That's right there, and go with your intuition. I think, our listeners could benefit from hearing that process.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I do this a lot in my business and I teach a little bit about this on my coach and my guess is you do this well. But you know, I think we all have a different intuitive process and we think there's just one way. So for me, if I'm not sure about something, I just sort of make a decision and live with it, and then I let myself change my mind in a day or three days. I do Because I don't always know if it's the right decision for me until I live with it for a while, and it could be. You know, I don't know, I haven't bought a car in a long time, but let's pretend I'm going to go buy a car and I'm undecided. I'll just pretend that I chose one car and envision being with that car for a couple of days before I actually go buy it.

Speaker 2:

I don't like making instant decisions. That's not my process, even intuitively. Sometimes I'll get those downloads and sometimes I'll know intuitively, but usually I've been thinking about it a fricking long time. So this whole thing about intuition and I act on my intuition and I do, and it looks from the outside like I'm a fast actor on my intuition, but usually if I've been thinking about it. So, if I'm going to go buy a car, I've been thinking about it for a super long time, about maybe I'll buy a car. Is it the right time to buy a car? I'd rather spend the 20 or 30 or 50,000 on somebody else, right?

Speaker 1:

I think there's definitely a profound difference between intuition and just jumping the gun right Right, Making an instinctive decision on the spot, and sure, I think that's, and it's also something I think that people can benefit from hearing, and it's a practice too right. It's not something you just snap your finger and do it's. You have to practice that art of delayed gratification of. Here's my options. Let me ponder the decision. And it doesn't mean that you're not going off of intuition. It just means that you're taking time and you're analyzing the options in the situation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I think some people probably make instant decisions and know when it's right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, as a voracious reader, can you recommend a personal development or self-help book that profoundly impacted you during or after your adoption journey? I love to talk about books, that I think books and reading is such a profound art form, and I love to get in your perspective on books, any of those books that guided you along.

Speaker 2:

Well, in terms of the adoption it was primal wound. But that's not very personal development oriented, but it certainly helped me understand about bonding and love and trauma bonding. Like can imagine there's a lot of trauma, bonding and foster care lot of prisons and you know, group homes and all that kind of stuff.

Speaker 2:

So for me personally, even though it wasn't a personal development book, it changed everything about how I approach life and still does and how I see people responding and now I can kind of see how people are. You're responding out of your trigger, out of your wounding. I kind of get it, even though I'm not a therapist. And I want to say, you know, I think I said earlier, I'm not a therapist. So personally, it helped me a lot. I also, like you know, I'm old school and old. I've been around a long time. Anybody who's listening can do the math. So I like people like Richard Bach and Wayne Dyer and even some of the digler who's like the sales, go, go, go, sales, sales.

Speaker 2:

But it's all about connecting with people. If you really listen to this message, right?

Speaker 1:

I think that old school stuff.

Speaker 2:

I love Wayne Dyer.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think personal connection is where it's at. I think conversation. For me, choice is defined as a. It's a conversational ethic and I call it a compassionate, honest, open, intelligent conversational ethic. And that's what choice means for me, because I think that there's so much power in conversation and when you can employ that ethic into your conversations being compassionate, being honest, being open, being intelligent in your dialogue I think there's so much growth that can come from conversations and people like Zig Ziglar and Wayne Dyer those they I think they emphasized the connection between people.

Speaker 1:

And I think it's vastly important for our listeners who might be on the brink of making a life-altering decision. What's a stress, a strategy or a mantra that you use to stay true to your path, especially when it's challenging?

Speaker 2:

We have all done hard stuff, so just because it's hard doesn't mean not to do it. I like to look at is our soul calling us to do it? If there's some fear and it feels hard, it's probably our soul is calling us. If it's like something like hey, you know you want to go jump out of an airplane, well, it's like I don't know, I don't.

Speaker 1:

I have no desire to.

Speaker 2:

I have no desire, right. So it's like I don't have to force myself to go do that out of fears, right. But when there's something internal like, oh my gosh, maybe I have to, like, go speak to this group and I'm like, am I qualified? There's self doubt, there's imposterism, then yeah, probably I do, because that's really the up, the internal up leveling. So I think and I'm on the brink all the time about stuff All of us are I think we really have to know ourselves well about what is it that's ours to do and does it hurt other people around you?

Speaker 1:

That's a fantastic viewpoint to take whenever making a decision 100% Does it benefit? And what's the secondary and tertiary ripple effects? Right, it's fantastic. And what you said in the beginning of that answer brings to mind, and I don't even remember where I heard it, but somebody once said if you do the things that are hard, life will be easy. If you do the things that are easy, life will be hard.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and so if we avoid difficult situations or challenging circumstances, life is hard. Right, Because you're taking the easy route. If you eat crap food, you'll have a body Right. And if you, if you do the easy thing and not exercise, you're going to pay for that in the long run, right, your life will be harder. But if you take the time and do the things that are hard now stick to a diet, stick to an exercise regimen, study, learn, grow life becomes easy Once you want to do the hard stuff and you put in the hard work. I think that's a fascinating perspective. Well, lastly, the essence of our show is understanding the impact of choices. Looking back, can you pinpoint a moment where you felt the utmost gratitude for the choice that you made, despite the challenges? Can you look back at a moment and say I'm so grateful and glad that I made this decision.

Speaker 2:

Oh well, for sure, you know, adopting my daughter, for sure it has been a very challenging, because of trauma, because of COVID, because of being an older mom, because, because, because, whatever, but for sure I'm in gratitude every day and it was definitely a hard choice and an easy choice all at once. But there's others too. Moving to Colorado, marrying my husband I've been in the same house, the same husband, 40 years. You know, do anything for 40 years.

Speaker 2:

That's not that's a choice, that's an everyday choice, and there's challenges that come to that as well. Oh yeah.

Speaker 1:

Right, and it's well. Kudos to you. I absolutely love to hear that. I think a 50th anniversary is something everybody should strive to achieve, right? I think I've been lucky and blessed. I probably won't make it to a 50th anniversary because I met my now wife when I was 40, I was 39, and she's 49. And so it's it's. We might not make it to 50. I hope that we do. I would be happy to celebrate in my golden years, but I think I've been lucky and blessed enough to find my forever person and I know that you know, 15, 20, 30 years down the road there will be challenges, right, and it doesn't go away. And it's a daily, constant choice to to keep that, that love alive and to keep that thing going Right, because there's always challenges that come. But kudos to you for that 40 years in the same house with the same husband.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I'm grateful for it. I am, and it took me maybe a while to get there as well, but I'm pretty grateful for my life.

Speaker 1:

But you, you radiate happiness.

Speaker 2:

Oh, thank you.

Speaker 1:

You radiate positivity and it's inspiring and I'm so grateful that I got to have you here and have this conversation. Can you let people know our listeners that are listening where they can find you or how they can follow you or or see what you're doing in the world and maybe you're also a publisher?

Speaker 2:

I am. I'm a book publisher. I own a book publishing company and we got a whole team of people published 150 books or so through COVID. But I've had the company a long time. Michelle coachescom, you can find me. All my links there, right, my Facebook. I'm really active in Facebook. I'm elsewhere. I'm on Tik Tok even. I'm elsewhere. You can find me.

Speaker 1:

I've been trying to learn to talk.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, I have a love hate relationship with it, but I have it. I have threads, I have it all. But I mostly hang out on Facebook because that's where I started and that's what I know the best, and you can text me my phones on there, you can connect and I will drop all of those links in the description as well, or whatever primary link that you have that connects all those.

Speaker 1:

It's just what an incredible experience talking to you, Michelle. Thank you so much for sharing and it's inspiring. I think a lot of people are going to be inspired by hearing this and hopefully there may be some foster parents out there that are looking and say, wow, I know what's coming and this is inspirational, right? No lock doors.

Speaker 2:

Yeah right, thank you, sonny. You're inspirational too, and I can't wait to follow you. I started following you, so I can't wait to be with you on this journey of life.

Speaker 1:

I love it. Thank you so much, and we'll talk soon.

Michelle Vandepas
Experiences and Growth in Adoption
Navigating Teenage Angst and Life Changes
Exploring Intuition and Letting Go
The Power of Choice and Connection
Connecting With Michelle and Finding Inspiration

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