I’ve been wanting to do this for so long, but couldn’t figure out where to begin. So I’m just going to start where I am and figure out the way as I go. I once backpacked through Europe with this approach and that turned out okay.
The stirrings began about six months ago when we were in a pretty dark spot along this adoptive path, and I wanted to reach out to the universe for help because I wasn’t finding any comfort in my smaller part of the world. Lots of ideas were taking shape in my mind, but I was afraid to give them voice for fear I would regret them later. That was a smart decision.
Fast forward a few months and things were better so I decided to start writing, but I still didn’t have the guts to put it out there. I’m feeling brave today so here goes.
Because I want to be brutally honest, because we (those of us in this world of older child adoption) have to be if any of us are going to get through this, if our kids are going to heal, if the rest of the world (or at least my small part of it) is ever going to comprehend this struggle, I want to show how much the climate can change in a matter of weeks. So I’m going to set the stage with two separate posts written several weeks apart.
Begin Blog # 1.
I am a disappointing hero. Praise and admiration make me uncomfortable. I swear. I drink. I speak the truth even when nobody wants to hear it. I don’t take no for an answer, I’m a bull by the horns type of gal, and I won’t sugarcoat adoption from foster care. I’ll be the first to admit that the undertaking is heroic—I’ve been called upon to muster a strength of spirit that I didn’t know I had—but if you’re looking for a fairy tale, I’m going to let you down.
I’ve been compelled for some time to document this journey, but have struggled with the ethical balance between protecting my children’s privacy (and mine—it is not my nature to broadcast my struggles), and the hope that our story may be just the inspiration another needs to keep plugging. A wise friend recently tipped the scales in favor of sharing with a single sentence that changed my life-but I’ll talk about that another time.
Feeling vulnerable, but following my own advice to my children to do that which scares me most, here we go. My husband of 20 years and I had four children born to us in the early years of our marriage. Let me say straight up that I despise the term “biological child”. All children are biological, except of course the plastic ones. Can’t say I love “born to us” either but at least it’s factual.
Semantics aside, we decided we did not want to give birth to any more children and took permanent measures to ensure we wouldn’t. Adoption at a later date was always the plan—at least it was mine. The people who love me must often accompany me on my adventures as captives.
Eight years ago my hostages and I became a therapeutic foster family. I’ll have to flesh this out later as I’m eager to get to today. The short story is that we fostered more than 20 kids and saw the best and worst of humanity. The experience changed everything from my politics to my views on cosmetic enhancements, but ultimately made me better and stronger.
Weary of the revolving door and its accompanying heartache we actively sought out an adoptive placement. I have always been so crazy in love with my first four kids that more could only be better, right?
We are now just weeks away from the year anniversary of our daughter’s placement in our home and I am finally feeling hopeful. That’s a nice word, hopeful. In her six short years, our daughter had experienced 10 out of home placements and was on a mission to get to number 11 as quickly as possible. She came armed with an arsenal of behavioral weapons that had already caused one adoptive family to surrender and had us afraid that life would never return to normal.
Seven months in, add a tow-headed 4-year-old foster son who I declined placement of twice, ultimately agreed to provide short term emergency respite for as a desperate favor, who now calls me Mommy and is completely entwined in my heartstrings to the mix and we had a heaping mess of little girl reeling.
For far too long, we—well I (Mom is the emotional thermostat of the home) allowed her to set the temperature a few degrees shy of Hell. Then one day, my wise friend sat beside me, listened, no heard me and set me free from my own angry/guilty demons. Now don’t imagine that it’s all butterflies and cupcakes—my daughter had a screaming tantrum this morning and informed me for the gazillionth time that I’m a terrible mother (she’s wrong—I rock at the Mom thing).
The difference is me. I’ve come to accept my feelings or lack of them in light of the situation and have taken back control of my home’s emotional climate effectively disarming my child and allowing us to begin the journey toward peace.