Thursday, November 07, 2013

Adoption Month

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.

31 comments:

Kristine N said...

So well done!

Karen said...

Thank you" half way through reading this aloud to my husband he asked me if I wrote it. You absolutely nailed this so well for us

Happyclam said...

Amen sister !

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

I had hopes that adopting would help my other daughter develop compassion. Not so much. well, not yet I should say.

Shalom said...

This had me weeping. Holy crap, yes.

Tisha said...

Perfect. Exactly. Thanks!

Shelagh Knjaschewitsch said...

Sometimes you will only know if you live it, are in it, and have been through it...the pain but also the love and joy that comes from the whole process....I love my adopted children and they love me unconditionally... but it hasn't come without its incredible pain at times...for all of us!!...A very well written article...Thank you!!

Michelle Batchelder said...

So well put, I understand more from your experiences, it has made our decision easier and harder all at once, but has helped me come to terms with it! Thank you for sharing, openly, honestly, and with a sense of humor!

Sanne Family said...

It is a thing of beauty that you were brave enough to share our story. You are not alone. You are not crazy. We parents who share this unique experience have to stick together. With love and admiration I say thank you for this post!

Christen Shepherd said...

Beautifully said! I finally wrote a book with a child and youth counselor because when I adopted I couldn't find anyone saying these truths. At that time I thought I was the only one facing challenges! Trying to heal trauma in children does make us warriors not saints. Loved your blog!

Megan said...

Thank you for writing this it's as if you were reading many of my thoughts.

Angela Retallack said...

Are you in my head? I get it. Thanks, for putting it on "paper".

Angela Retallack said...

Are you in my head? I get it. Thanks, for putting it on "paper".

Lora said...

First time visiting your blog and I just have to say it is VERY WELL SAID. Our daughter is 7, adopted at 5.5, and I am definitely no saint. But warrior, that's a title I can handle :)

mamaporuski said...

Love the WARRIOR term. SO much better than being a trauma mama! On the other hand, I was a child of trauma and by the grace of God I have been pulled out and redeemed. That is why we can do this for our own children of trauma. Much harder as the adult by the way!
Thanks for sharing!

Precinct 5 TMR EMM said...

Amen, sista!

Nellie said...

One odd thing I have discovered is that there seems to be two "camps" of adoptive parents.....those who had (or are having) a challenging time of it, who hesitate (to say the least) to believe that any one could adopt and have just a "short period of adjustment" and then happily ever after.... and those who have, indeed, experienced a short period of adjustment and then live happily ever after. I have a foot in both camps and I suppose the one thing that surprises me most is the inability of one group to believe that the other is not (in the one case) not being honest or, in the other, not causing the difficulties themselves. I do know warriors but I don't feel like a warrior AT ALL - anymore than you'd use that term for a martial artist or a prize fighter. They are doing something for the love of it. I guess I feel like a person who has stumbled by God's Grace into the mission I was always meant to have. That's when "hard" feels good and right.

Rachelp said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. I am a mom to biological kids and adoptive... both are hard... just different. One of my biological children has a disorder that causes tumors to grow.... (that's hard). My adopted daughter has mild R.A.D. ....still hard. There are no guarantees.... no perfectly happily ever afters. Thank you for being brave enough to be honest! We need that to spur each other on.

mylifewithanya said...

Wow. You nailed it. Just wow.

Linda Q said...

Yes Yes and Yes!

scooping it up said...

crying. thank you Sheri. Love your guts - Staci from ETAAM

SMolly said...

Yes, somehow this was comforting and my eyes are watering. I don't really need anyone to make dinner for me but recently a couple friends (also adoptive parents) had our children over for a sleepover so my hubby and I could overnight in a nice hotel. It was the first time we had that opportunity in many years. Even now I cant express what a favor that was.

marythemom said...

No words.

Jess said...

This made me cry...so honest and so true on all levels.

MeganRSN said...

This made me feel so much better. It really does feel like my husband and I are doing this all for the first time. It helps so much to know someone else has experienced it too.

Paula Schuck said...

Today I found this bracelet. No word of a lie in the bottom of my jewelry box. I got it at a conferecne I attended somewhere about adoption. It states: I am a successful adoptive parent. I laughed. Perhaps I am. But there are days. You captured them here. Success is a different thing after adoption.

AnnMarie Jubenville-Brown said...

This was very well said, thank you for saying what I couldn't put into words for years.

I am not a saint - I am a human being trying to do the best I can with this little person I adopted. Some days well... those are the days that are to often remembered. I must focus on the good days remember those days over the bad.

kellygc said...

Are you living in my house? These are words I have wanted to say but couldn't articulate. I am a realist so I always give potential adoptive parents the good, bad, and ugly. We have 4 kids ages 8,7, 6, 4. The youngest three, a sibling group, came to use through foster care 16 months ago. It has been quite a ride for sure! Thanks for sharing, Kelly

Dawn said...

STANDING OVATION. Halle-freaking-lujah yes!!!!!!!!!!

Cindy L said...

Bless you!
www.countrycitycindy.blogspot.com
Cindy

Cindy L said...

Bless you!
www.countrycitycindy.blogspot.com
Cindy