Wednesday, February 07, 2018

CURRENT ADOPTION THOUGHTS

It's hard to put into words the many layers of complexity, both good and hard, that adoption brings into our family.  Because we chose to bring children into our family this way, we've been given gifts far beyond our wildest imagining.  We have an entire extra family that has grown to include some of our closest friends - we never could have dreamed it up!  Our bonus family has expanded our worldview and brought so much bonus love, something we (and especially our children) can never have enough of.

As John and I have both spent time reflecting on the past years and working with a coach and counselor, it has become clear that the adoption complexities do add stress to our family.  Sometimes, there are more questions than answers.  Sometimes, there is more fear than faith.  Often, there are behaviors and issues that arise that we do not feel equipped for.

There's something about being a parent that makes me doubt me.  Like, I'm getting it all wrong and failing in the most important places.  Like I will do irreparable harm when I get angry and snap or yell.  And adoption has a sneaky way of magnifying these doubts.  As if I put them under a microscope and can see even the tiniest details of my failures that lurk beneath it all.  Let's face it - the stakes are very, very high.  I mean, no pressure, right?!?

Please hear me when I say that by and large, I believe (and know deep down) I'm doing the best that I can.  I'm also getting the help and reaching out for even more.  We are scheduled to start Theraplay next month, and I am filled with hopeful anticipation for new tools and increased connection with our children.  With all my heart, I know that we have the family that God built for us, and while parts of it are incredibly challenging, we wouldn't change a thing.

It's tricky to navigate how to tell our combined stories in a way that is open and vulnerable, which creates connection and hope, but is also protective and honoring of our children.  I don't feel at liberty to splash the crazy details of all the drama and mayhem, because I never, ever want any of my children to feel that their personal stories are overexposed.  I know this is a constant and ever-changing personal battle in our current climate, and the older my kids get, the harder it seems to be.  I've heard from mothers of older kids how lonely those years can feel, because you cannot rally immediate support over your teenager's "antics" the way that you could your toddler's.  We're several years away from teenagers, but I can feel the shift beginning.

I love adoption, and more than that, I love the God who creates families built out of ashes turned into beauty.  But I cannot forget or dismiss the ashes - here on earth, they leave traces and stains and require attention and effort and healing.  It is SO BEAUTIFUL and SO PAINFUL all at the same time.  We got all the riches, but each coin that we are holding has those two sides to it - never one without the other.

I say all of this to paint a realistic picture of our current reality.  We are in the trenches.  Some days are absolutely fine, and we seem to be a "normal" family, whatever that means.  Other days go off the rails completely, and I find myself crying in a closet.  It's just where we are.

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I love these two (and my other two) with all of my heart, and I cannot imagine my world without them.  This trip to Target last month had too many highs and lows to count, and I relished the smiles when I got them.  While I was at Target, John was at Wal-Mart (apparently we over-shop at discount stores?) with the big girls, and he ran into the twins' birth mom.  She seemed to be doing all right, but it is still a jarring experience and reminder of all of the good and the hard.

In summation, I'm so thankful and heart-glad and at the same time still trying to figure it all out and praying for lots and lots of wisdom and guidance and patience and grace and strength.

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