Sunday 29th May 2022

Women Of Courage Series. #6. Annette. 72/2019.

Women of Courage Series. #6. Annette. 72/2019.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

Welcome to Annette’s story.  She is 51. I have connected with Annette via her blog and on social media thanks to our mutual interest in art and creativity.  


What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

When I think of times I’ve needed courage in my life, two things spring to mind.

The first is that as an adoptee, it has taken me many small steps of courage, over many years, to come to a place of peace and self-acceptance. Adoption promises happy endings to all involved. The reality is that adoption begins with loss and creates trauma. Working through how I feel about being adopted has been the most courageous internal work I’ve done in my life, so far.

The second thing that I’ve experienced that required courage was being diagnosed with heart failure. It took courage to accept my diagnosis and then make changes to my lifestyle.


How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

Adoption has impacted everything about who I am, but it isn’t who I am.

I used to believe that I was broken or defective in some way. Why wouldn’t you think that when all you’ve been told as an adoptee is that your mother gave you away; that love equals abandonment. That’s a messed-up message, and in many cases was not in any way the truth of the circumstances around adoptions in this country.

As for my health issues, that changed everything for me, from what I eat, to how much I can drink every day, to realising that no, actually we’re not immortal. It’s been a good life lesson.


Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

Courage is not waking up one day with the confidence of a superhero.

Courage is incremental.

Courage manifests itself in tears, in trembling, and in the smallest actions. Often those actions begin in the mind, where we have to decide if we are going to act or hide.

Courage is accessible to all, though many of us don’t believe it.

Courage is believing you can act to change the circumstances, then following through.


Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

Yes, I’m practised in courage, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy or automatic.

The deeper the fear, the harder it is to draw on the courage you need. But it’s there. It’s there in all of us.


Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

Believe in yourself, and have COMPASSION on yourself.

Courage takes time to stir up. It can be an emotionally trying process. It can make you want to run away more than you’ve ever wanted to.

The tiniest, almost invisible to the naked eye steps you take towards courage count. Everything counts, not just what is seen or celebrated as courageous.

Courage isn’t about big things, it is about meaningful things. Learning to say no, being willing to say yes, making peace with yourself, loving the person you are, believing in your completely unearned worthiness; these are acts of courage.


Do add anything else that you think would help others who read your post.

I believe in people’s ability to grow. I believe it because I’ve seen it in others, over and over again, and because I live it.


Thank you Annette. My life is richer from getting to know you too. I enjoy our conversations on-line about art and more.


Connect with Annette here on Social Media





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Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

Copyright © 2019 – All rights reserved.



  1. Inspiring women

  2. Compassion and self-compassion are huge. Thanks for bringing us Annette’s story. It was also interesting to hear her perspective from an adoptee – that it begins with loss & that the abandonment usually comes with a more complex back story. That’s the part that’s overlooked when the concentration is on the “happy ending”. #MLSTL

    • Hi Joanne,
      Thanks for reading my story.
      I’m glad my perspective offered something new for you. It’s sometimes difficult to get people to broaden their ideas of adoption, as it is sold as ‘happy endings’ for everyone. It’s far more complex than that, just like life!

    • Yes Joanne, Annette is one good story teller…of the truth. She is both resilient and helpful to others sharing what her life has been to now.

      I was delighted to host her story.

      Denyse x

  3. Thank you Denyse for another inspiring women and sharing at #MLSTL. How sad that Annette had such a bad experience as an adoptee when some are so fortunate to have loving and caring adoptive parents. Courage is something that can be acquired through life experiences.

    • Hi Sue,

      The idea that it’s either a bad experience or being fortunate to have loving and caring adoptive parents is a complete misnomer. It’s part of the ‘fairytale’ idea of adoption that has been sold lock, stock and barrel to the general public. Nothing’s that simple.

      I have great parents and siblings, AND adoption begins with trauma and loss. I was separated from my mother at birth, I lost all connection to my family of origin. That creates trauma, and not just for adoptees. The happiness of the adoptee’s life has no bearing on whether there’s trauma or not. You simply cannot have adoption without loss and trauma.

      I agree that courage comes via life experiences. I’m glad to have had lots of opportunities to grow in courage.



    • Thank you Sue. Annette does not shy away from the story and I admire her so much for sharing with others.

      Denyse x

  4. Thank you for asking me to participate in your women of courage series Denyse. What a treat!

    As a wise woman once must have said, it takes one to know one.

    Keep growing in courage and compassion my friend.

    Annette x

    • It has been just wonderful to host your story Annette. Gosh we go a long way back now too. Thank you for your kind and awesome support always.

      Denyse xx

  5. I love these words from Annette “Courage manifests itself in tears, in trembling, and in the smallest actions. Often those actions begin in the mind, where we have to decide if we are going to act or hide.”
    Thank you Denyse for sharing Annette’s story

    • I asked Annette to come on board for this series as I knew, already, much of her courage watching from the distance that is ‘on-line’ connections. She has supported and helped me too as I hope I have for her.

      Love the internet connections that we can make.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      Denyse x

  6. Thanks for sharing Annette’s story Denyse. And thanks to Annette for telling it so beautifully! I love these words in particular and can relate to them: Courage is believing you can act to change the circumstances, then following through. There are so many different versions of courage and reading everyone’s stories makes me realise this even more. Thanks so much Denyse. #mlstl

  7. Leanne | says:

    I love the “believe in yourself and have compassion” advice and also that courage grows incrementally. I think we often don’t give ourselves enough credit for the growth we’ve achieved by pushing through tough times and conquering our setbacks.
    Thanks for sharing Annette with us at MLSTL Denyse and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • Yes that is so true. Often courage is not ‘one big thing’ at all but each step we take towards a better life choice….and each step we take away from what does not work for us.

      Thanks Leanne.

      Denyse x

  8. Having compassion really resonates with me. Sometimes I forget how amazing I am and let the negative thoughts convince me otherwise.

    • Have you heard about the lies we tell ourselves? Yep. You know what I mean. Being compassionate to ourselves is something I am learning….very.slowly. I am much better than I was. If you are ever wanting to know more, look up Kristen Neff and self-compassion. I have written about her before, but I reckon you would like her site too.

      Denyse x

  9. Courage being in small actions is so very true.

  10. I love this post from Annette Denyse! Of course I follow her online and ‘know’ her a little from there but it’s wonderful to hear her story. I hadn’t known she was adopted and I have two friends with very different adoption stories (in terms of the impact on their lives) so love that insight.

    I also love her comments on compassion. Something I need to think of at the moment.

    • Isn’t Annette someone who puts her words together well? I know she really loves words. She sure has been on a steep learning curve in recent times and I have been an on-line supporter of how much she had to do to change. Bravo, I say.

      Compassion when we leave ourselves last does not help us at all.

      A recent bout with my old foe (like IBS) saw me being compassionate to myself instead of scolding and critical and I found it made a difference to how I felt. I truly did.

      I need to recall it far more.

      I mention the work of Dr Kristen Neff and self-compassion and have written about her at times. Quite fascinating. Over the years I have completed her on-line quiz and know, over time, I have learned to be more kind in words to myself.

      Denyse x

  11. How lovely to see Annette here! I have known of Annette for many years and follow her on social media but haven’t really ‘known’ her so this has been fabulous to get to know her a bit more. I didn’t know she was adopted for instance. Annette I love your descriptions of what courage is – you’re spot on! Thanks Denyse for another wonderful contribution to your series. xo #TeamLovinLife

    • The series was never going to be complete without this contribution from Annette which has been received so kindly and which I am pretty sure, she will enjoy reading and responding when she can.

      Thanks Min.

      Denyse x

  12. Its so sad that her adoption was not a positive part of her life. I only know two other people that experienced adoption, and thankfully for them they are very grateful for the wonderful lives they have lived thanks to the kindness of their adoptive parents.

    • Thanks Nikki for your comment today.

      Annette’s post, is one I believe where her courage in overcoming her many challenges re being an adoptee, shines through.


  13. Annette even though I felt sad at the experiences you have had to endure, your wise words were a joy to read. I also believe that we must have compassion for ourselves. Denyse your Women of Courage series has been wonderful

    • I am glad you are enjoying the posts. The women of courage are letting themselves be seen to be vulnerable too. I find that amazing and am very grateful they accepted my invitation to take part.

      Denyse x

  14. I really like the bit where you say Courage isn’t the big things. I think that’s such a brillaint description. It can at times end up being the big things, but at the time I think it’s just little by little.
    Great post.

    • Annette writes with energy yet tempers the words so we get to absorb their messages. Her blog is where she also writes from time to time and her topics have a great range.

      Thanks for popping by too.

      Denyse x

  15. Another great part of you awesome series. Thanks, Denyse.

  16. So many great take-away’s from the messages you share for others who may be facing situations that require courage.

    “The tiniest, almost invisible to the naked eye steps you take towards courage count. Everything counts, not just what is seen or celebrated as courageous.” WORD!

    Many wise words Annette. Xx

    • One of THE wisest I say, Sandra!

      Annette shares her words so graciously with generosity but also to make us think!

      Thank you.

      Denyse x