This will likely be all over the place. I have no idea where this will end up so please forgive my wandering.
November is National Adoption Month.
Let's state the obvious, Adoption is life changing. People focus on the sacrifice that we adopted parents make. The way we graciously open our home to an "orphan". The way we give them a better life than they would've had without us. How generous we are. Love can and will fix everything.
That, my friends, is a pile of crap.
Adoption is born from ruin. It is ugly. It is loss, something that if we were honest we wished would never have to happen. It comes from pain. It is unnatural.
All those things being true it is still wonderful and loving. It is done out of a spirit of helpfulness. It is kindness and mercy. It is a necessary evil.
It is not a decision I regret.
It is not at all what I expected. It is messy. It is hard. It is gut wrenching.
Working through the pain that my child suffered and the indelible scars they left behind is not easy. It is not generous and it does not make me a saint. It makes me a warrior. I wish there were things I never knew. I wish I didn't immediately go to "that place" when someone shares that they are pursuing adoption.
I fear that they are going in blind like we did. I fear that they are thinking they are going to have a short period of adjustment and all will be well. I fear that others in their home will be adversely effected. I fear that they will lose their ideal image of adoption. I fear that they think that most times love is enough.
And if I am honest with myself, I what I fear most is that their love will be enough while mine wasn't.
I fear that I drew the short stick and their life will be peachy. I fear that I will share a small portion of our ugly with them to try to prepare them and then the get flowers and hearts instead of stinky fish and garbage to wade through. I fear they will think I am crazy.
I also fear that I am right, and they will experience the hard part of loss. Their child will have attachment resistance and will struggle with e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. I fear being "right" because that means another child and another family will have to wade through the muck of early trauma. I fear that their chemistry, their brain is forever altered by the loss they have experienced. I fear we will add another parent into the "trauma momma" fold and another child will have to live with the repercussions of mistakes the adults in their life have made. I fear that a child suffers.
My family has been forever changed by adoption. I have learned to be a fighter, an advocate, and a learner. My children have learned compassion and tolerance for others. I have experienced more heartache than I knew existed. I have also experienced more joy. I have friends that AMAZE me daily. I have become a part of an amazing community who hold one another up when we think we can no longer continue. I have traveled across the country to be in the presence of women who understand. I have met moms who are warriors and children who are conquerors. I have met those still deep in the battle and I have met those on the other side.
I have made mistakes. I have been forgiven. I have learned it is not about me. I have learned that no one really knows what we go through unless you live it daily. I understand that you still think I am crazy.
And that is ok.
I don't really want you to understand. I want you to reach out and help. I want you to make a meal for a family in your circle who has adopted. I want you to ask if you can take their child to a movie. I want you to understand when they pull into themselves. I want you to not give up on them when they cannot socialize as often as before. I want you NOT to say they are special, or awesome or a saint, because likely they are feeling precisely the opposite. I want you to drop by with wine and chocolate and not blink twice when the house is a disaster or smells like pee. Come over and ask to help with laundry. Ask to play catch in the yard with their child so they can take a freaking nap without being hyper vigilant.
Never forget that scars from early trauma and issues with attachment do not show on the outside. Please, for the love of all that is holy, understand that they will likely be wonderful, kind, perfect children for you because you are not the parent. You are not trying to take over that spot in their life that holds so much pain, so much loss. You are not the object of their difficulties. Please don't judge the parent when you simply can't see it. I promise they are not crazy. I promise you won't get it. And that is ok. Just know it.
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