Samantha Koellhoffer is a freelance writer living outside of Philadelphia, PA with her loving husband and their superhero-and-princess-obsessed daughter. She is busy learning how to be a mom to her adopted daughter after her first child was born still. As well as being a Contributing Writer for Kveller, Sam is also an ongoing Contributor at Still Standing Magazine and has a personal blog here. She is currently working on a memoir about the highs and lows of motherhood. #time2momup
I was raised as a Conservative Jew. It suited my family and me well. Hebrew school a few times a week and services a few times a month. I was very active in my youth group and I always knew that…being Jewish was not just a religion to me, but a part of who I was at my core. As I got older, I stopped going to synagogue as much. I remember finding a local shul near college and going during High Holidays but I did not attend much more than that. When I met… >> Read More
I have experienced the “Terrible Twos” and have lived to write about them. I survived the “Threenager” year–although just barely. When my daughter turned four this past spring, I thought I…was in the clear. In some ways, I was. Almost overnight, my daughter seemed to understand concepts better. Her intellect constantly amazes me, even more so in the past few months. For instance: She still dislikes time-outs, but she knows why she is in them. She likes rewards for good behavior, and is starting to… >> Read More
Our “Gotcha Day” was December 18, 2013, and it was nothing short of spectacular.
Judge: "Do you understand that if the court approves this adoption, you will legally assume all of the rights,…duties, and responsibilities of a natural parent of the child? Do you understand that if this decree is granted, this child be the same as a natural child to you? Do you understand that you will have all of the duties toward this child to educate, support and to supply moral guidance and upbringing? Do you understand you… >> Read More
Wizard World arrived here in Philadelphia the first weekend in June. For those not in the know, it’s also called Comic Con.
The first time I went to Comic Con was back in 2009. My husband is a…huge superhero, comic book, and graphic novel fan, and he was excited to introduce that world to me. We have gone every summer since then. Always the two of us. Always buying more stuff than we need. We have a good time each year and look forward to the next one. As anyone who’s been… >> Read More
This morning, I was cleaning out my daughter’s closet in preparation for the warmer weather. Out went the winter dresses and sweaters, and in went the sundress and tank tops.
For some reason,…just as I finished, I reached high up on to a shelf that is barely used and shuddered when my fingertips grazed a small unopened box. I pulled the box down. There sat Gus the turtle, an adorable little nightlight. I remember when I got Gus. It was at my baby shower. I was about… >> Read More
Like most of the country, I woke up a week ago to find out that Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden and later Audioslave, had died. I was in shock and immediately tapped my husband on the…shoulder to tell him the news. Here’s the thing: I was not a huge Chris Cornell fan. I liked some of his songs, and I appreciated his contribution to music, but he is not someone I felt like knew. He was not someone I thought about on a daily basis. In fact, he was not… >> Read More
Every year at my annual OB appointment, I have some kind of drama. I have been going to this particular practice since I was pregnant. I was a patient there when I lost my daughter at 37 weeks. A…doctor in this practice delivered her still. And now, once a year, I return there to endure a certain kind of hell that goes beyond just a pap smear and a breast exam. I know that for the rest of my life, I will be asked how many pregnancies I have had and how many… >> Read More
I am addicted to Netflix. There, I said it. "House of Cards," "Orange Is the New Black," "The New Girl"…I could go on and on.
When it is late at night and everyone has gone to bed, I pick up the…remote and a sense of calm washes over me. I can escape into an imaginary world and leave my daily troubles behind. During the day, I make every effort to take care of myself. I exercise on the days that my daughter is in pre-school. I try to make smart choices when it comes to… >> Read More
It was a beautiful Easter Sunday. Although not my holiday, it is a day I happily celebrate with my in-laws, and we always have a terrific time. There is food galore, a frenzied and exciting Easter…egg hunt, lots of laughter and more love than can fit in the house. In the midst of the chaos and excitement and heat-wave that was Easter 2017, I excused myself to the go the bathroom. The window was open and I stood there for a moment, enjoying the sounds of the kids squealing outside.… >> Read More
I am not a huge fan of needles. Is anyone? I am also not a huge fan of donating blood. However, I recently tried to set aside my fears and give blood, because I knew it was the right thing to…do. I was way too early for my appointment and my heart was racing. Thanks to my fear of needles, I was anxious and nervous and thought about leaving more than once. But it was the anniversary of my dad’s death and I promised myself that I would do something not just for me on… >> Read More
Later this week, on Earth Day actually, we have two birthday parties to attend. One party is for a boy about to turn 4 and one party is for a girl who should be turning 6.
The birthday boy will…have a party that incorporates the Earth and recycling and the environment. I suspect there will also be some sort of tractor or construction vehicle as well. There will be a crowd of grandparents, cousins, friends and family. There will be presents and cake and lots of laughter. The other party will be different. It… >> Read More
My daughter goes to preschool three days a week. She has been going since she was about a year and a half. She really likes it. She learns a lot, including how to socialize and share, which are two…of the biggest lessons any child can learn at an early age if you ask me. Every morning when we drop her off, we take a photo. When my husband drops her off, he sends me the picture. When I drop her off, I send him the picture. Sometimes we write a quick note: “Went… >> Read More
Later this week, my daughter turns 4. It seems like just yesterday that we were bringing her home from the hospital. I now understand the saying, “The days are long, but the years are short” far…more than I ever thought I would. Later this week is also the yahrzeit for my father. He passed away 3 years ago. The day before my daughter turned one, actually. My dad was not a particularly great dad. But he was mine, flaws and all. My daughter will know my father only through the… >> Read More
Since I am Jewish, it goes without saying that I do not take or go to confession. But if I did, I feel like every other time I went, I would have the same refrain: "Bless me, Rabbi, for I have sinned.…I ate a box of Girl Scout cookies...again." I am not making light of confession; rather, I am illustrating exactly how big of a deal my weight, and my eating, is to me. That's right. To me. Because after many years on earth, I finally get that no one else really cares. Really: as long… >> Read More
My daughter will be 4 years old at the end of this month. We are in the midst of planning her party and deciding what gifts she needs versus what gifts she simply wants. It’s an exciting time and I…can’t believe that my baby girl is really not a baby anymore. There is someone else who probably feels the same way: my daughter’s birth mother. When my husband and I decided to grow our family through adoption, we knew that an open adoption was what we wanted. Is there a bigger choice to make… >> Read More
I have always worked. In junior high, in high school, all through college…sometimes they were odd jobs, sometimes they were career defining roles. No matter what, I was constantly employed. And I…didn’t mind! I relished making my own money, having my own health benefits and earning my vacation time. I liked my various work spaces, and I made friends wherever I worked, so much so that I’m still close and friendly with many people that I worked with over a decade ago. My attachment to my… >> Read More
When my daughter was teeny tiny, I remember taking her to meet her dad for lunch. It was pouring and I was soaked. I had one hand on my hood and one hand trying to finagle the car seat out of the…back seat while trying to block the water from drenching both of us. A mom walked by and said to me, "I remember those days all too well!" and kept walking. I do not know what I expected her to do, but that was not it. Sleep deprived, cold, and soaked to the bone, all… >> Read More
I have a very special friend. This particular friend used to own the nursery school that I attended when I was 3 years old. I went there until kindergarten, and my brothers went there as well. She…has been a part of my life for 40 years. Her name is Ann. Ann has always been more like a grandmother to me than just a friend. She treated my siblings and me with as much love as she treated her own family. She and my mom became friends all those decades ago and… >> Read More
I ask my daughter quite often if I am her favorite mom. She always squeals yes. I ask her when I am tickling her little toes or when I am brushing her long, beautiful hair. I ask her in a playful…manner and she replies the same way. In the back of my mind, I wonder why I ask, and I wonder if I am prepared for the day when that might not be true. My daughter is adopted. Her birth mother chose my husband and me to raise her. She went through reams of profile… >> Read More
The day my daughter died started out like any other day. My husband made us fruit smoothies for breakfast and we went to work together as we always did. I sat at my desk and began to work. I drank my…smoothie and smiled for my daughter, who liked the drink and often kicked when I took a sip. I had been feeling her less and less, and now at 37 weeks, I had started to drop. Being full-term meant there was not a lot of room in there for her to move around and so… >> Read More
The door opened wide, the dental hygienist (whom I really like so much) gave me a wide grin, and said, “How’s the baby?” I looked at her and asked if we could go somewhere outside of the…waiting room. And then I started to cry. I told her that my baby had died. I was mumbling into her shoulder as the tears flowed. She hugged me so tight and she started to cry and then apologized for asking. I told her that was crazy—of course she would ask! The last time I… >> Read More
After nearly 15 years, we had to say goodbye to our beloved cat this past spring. You would think I would be used to goodbyes by now, but death is simply not a concept you ever get used to, as far as…I am concerned. I adopted Zoe in August 2001 when I was a single lady working for a local PBS affiliate. I brought her home and called her Libby for the first 24 hours because I though Sam & Libby would be so cute together. She hated that name. Never once answered to it! So… >> Read More
November marked the 30-year anniversary of my bat mitzvah. 30 years since I feathered my hair, listened to Wang Chung and wore my sparkly silver dress with cream shoes that had little bows on them.…30 years since the Chernobyl accident and 30 years since Oprah first launched her talk show. Where has the time gone? If I could go back in time and tell that naive girl a few things, here is what I might say (in no particular order): 1. Always believe in yourself. 2. Never judge others.… >> Read More
When I was pregnant with my first child, a friend of mine gave me a Vera Bradley duffel bag as a baby shower gift. Although it was soft and featured a lot of pink, it was not the typical shower gift…I received, which were mostly things meant exclusively for the baby. My friend explained that this was to be a bag for me—and when I was ready to share it, it would be a bag for my daughter. I know I had things in my mind that I would pass onto my firstborn, but this… >> Read More
The first time my husband and I went to an informational session on adoption, I found it hard to sit still. They had these delicious cookies and I was much more interested in them than listening to…the social worker. I was not like the rest of the moms there. I had been pregnant before. Surely I would become pregnant again. We lost our first daughter when she was 37 weeks. She died before she even had a chance to be born. I delivered her still, after hours and hours of labor… >> Read More