This week, that’s what she said is all about family transitions, from adoption to childbirth to the terrible two’s. These are just snippets – click on the title to read the post in full. And speaking of family transitions (nice segue, eh?) Mark and I are going to be leading four sessions at the next Together for Adoption conference about helping children transition from group life to family life. If you are interested in adoption, foster care, or global orphan care, consider coming to the conference in Phoenix this October!
It’s midnight or 2 am or maybe 3, I don’t know. All I know is this is ridiculous. I look down at my first born son, mere weeks, months old, crying and flailing, latching and unlatching, and I groan out a sigh. Loud and heavy I sigh and I hope the air leaving my lungs will take my despair with it. This can’t be how life is supposed to be. I am powerless to help this small person who has waltzed into our lives with a grocery list of expectations and zero instructions as to how to meet them. I wonder if we did the right thing, doing all this.
Wounded from faithparley
It’s why we need to be home and be together as a family as much as possible. We hope she sees a healthy and safe family. Even more so, we hope she FEELS a healthy and safe family. And daddy. 100% of the dads I’ve met so far who have adopted little girls from Ethiopia have experienced this. Matawi is deeply wounded. And while I hate that this is her story, knowing the reason for her distrust helps me process it. It allows me to not take it too personal (or at least it helps… some). And it gives me some hope. But it still hurts. Bad.
Please repeat after me: • I shall maintain a sense of humor about all things motherhood, for without it, I recognize that I may end up institutionalized. Or, at the very least, completely miserable.
As most two-year-olds are wont to do, she began screaming hysterically. And as parents who have already lived through this with one kid are wont to do, we told her to get over it and then ignored her. Except, ignoring Marlo is like ignoring an ex-girlfriend who isn’t ready to get over you yet. And next thing you know she’s spelling SCREW YOU with gasoline on your lawn and is standing there with a match in her hand.
Some days Amos goes through the day as if he’s been here forever. Other days it’s very evident that he has been through hell and back to get here. My boy has been abandoned by everyone he’s ever known (including us each time we visited and left) and it has left some nasty scars on his heart. Scars that I can NEVER change, but I do put my hope in Jesus for his scars. I AM CONFIDENT that Jesus is bigger than any crap Amos has been through. Tonight I was once again reminded that this child is still scared to love completely and unconditionally. He is so scared to accept us and so scared to trust that I’m not leaving him.
My list of lessons that I want to pass down to her is virtually endless and constantly changing but I thought I’d write some of those lessons down here. Not only for posterity but also as a daily reminder to myself that one of the keys to parenting is consistency. Some of these lessons are humorous. Some are serious. However, all of them are true…
No one wants to know the truth about children in foster care right here in the US. No one wants to know that American children are being abused, neglected, starved, raped, murdered, rejected over and over. That only happens in third world countries, right? WRONG. It happens to American children too. No one wants to think about 18 year old kids being thrown out of foster care without a family or any kind of support. They’d rather blame the poor and the homeless people for being lazy or the criminals for being bad people, or the mentally ill for being crazy. No one wants to think about where those people have come from or why they are living they way they are. No one wants to think about the fact that many of them are former foster children who never had a chance in life. No one wants to think about how many foster children are actually "lost" in the system, meaning no one knows where they are. No one wants to think about how many remain lost after the system. No one wants to think about how many foster children die in the system.
Basically I described a family situation where a mom dies in childbirth, and the child is raised by her single father. A few years down the line, he falls in love and remarries a wonderful woman who also adores the child. Everyone celebrates that the child now has a stepmother who loves her deeply, but they don’t expect her to "get over" the fact that she lost her mother. And that’s a child who is still living with her biological father. They understand that child’s loss, and yet they negate the losses experienced by adoptees, losses so much deeper than the ones described in the above scenario.
I have changed so much as a mother and as a person in the last six years. I am steadier. More centered. I understand (though I don’t always remember) that being with a child in an emotion is a function of staying out of the storm yourself. Every time I handle Nate with ease and patience that I didn’t possess four years ago, I am grateful for the wisdom that comes from practice and time and heartbroken just a bit for my first babies.