Back in August I wrote a post inspired by a book named Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother. In it Jana Wolff boldly speaks her mind, saying things that many of us think but quickly learn to hide.
Adoptive moms are a curious breed. Somewhere along the way we bought into the idea that expressing any doubts at all discounts the beautiful adoption story we so carefully construct. That saying something makes us jealous or angry or sad means we aren’t good moms or we don’t love our kids, when really all it does is show we’re human.
The first post was titled “I am who I’m supposed to be.” At the time I felt this was necessary, considering the secret thoughts I was about to unleash on the blog are usually tucked carefully away behind that pretty mommy picture. Which I guess speaks to the problem we have with talking about the hard stuff.
At any rate, it was a necessary title for the first post but rather cumbersome for repeats…thus we have “take a peek,” as in “take a peek inside my whirly, swirly head.”
** I thought I was prepared for the holiday season. I’d mentally steeled myself for the idea that we might encounter more issues as the children get older, especially during a time of year filled with so much…everything. But nothing prepares you for hearing the word “worthless” leave your nine-year-old’s mouth. Children everywhere are filled with joy, and I’m watching my daughter’s heart split wide open. There are no words for the that kind of pain.
** The weight of our secret life presses down on me until there are times I want to curl up in a ball. The nature of adoption demands this – our kids’ experiences are not on display for the world to see, and there are days when the pain we’re going through in private trumps everything else. So it makes me crazy when stupid shit goes down and someone outside the family is causing drama over literally nothing. I want to scream, “What on earth makes you think I would care about that when we’re dealing with ALL OF THIS?!” Except I can’t. Refer to weight of the secret life.
** We came to adoption after experiencing the special joy of infertility treatments, so I still had some baggage to deal with while we were beginning the adoption process. Want to feel like a horrible person? Try absorbing an overwhelmingly uncontrollable hatred for pregnant women. Strangers, acquaintances, it made no difference…watching someone else experience a pregnancy evoked a primal pain that brought me to my knees. What kind of person hates someone growing a baby?! I see that stage with clearer eyes now, but going through it? It feels terrible to hate a woman for something wonderful and then hate yourself for feeling it.
** It’s odd that after so many years I can still be caught off guard with people. Sometimes it’s the most innocent phrases that tweak ever so slightly: “You must get that from your mom.” or “Is his/her dad tall?” I mean, how am I supposed to answer that?! It’s simpler if the kids aren’t in earshot – a one-word response can get me out of lots of situations – but the kids are older now, and while they seem to have diminished listening skills at home apparently their ears snap to attention when another adult is speaking about them. So they’re watching me field these questions and either a) hear me tell half-truths or b) see me stumble through the encounter. Neither of which inspires confidence, I’d imagine.
** I am nearly torn apart by this birthmother relationship. We’ve had some issues come up between the two of us, but I desperately need her to be there for T-man. I’m beyond worried. Any previous disappearing acts happened when he was too young to notice but (as I keep pointing out) that’s not the case anymore, and the thought of walking T-man through that kind of disappointment…the thought alone makes it hard to breathe.
Whirly, swirly, all the time…
Adoption is hard. I remember growing up dreaming of someday adopting. I never imagined in my adolescent years how difficult it would be. Now as an adult and parent of 3 children of my own, I sometimes feel my heart rip out of my chest when I see the birth mother disappear and emotionally harm this little girl. I’m amazed at how much pain a small child can go through. We must not keep all the pain inside though. It’s difficult, but we must strive to be an open family. At least within our own walls. That’s the only way any of us can heal from all this hurt. But man is it ever a difficult thing to live through. While adoption is beautiful and should be celebrated, it’s also devastating, heart breaking. Adoptive families often live a secret life, in isolation. I think it’s great that you shared this post. It would be great to open the eyes of the world to the realities of adoption, both the wonderful and difficult aspects of it.
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Thank you so much for your kind words & for sharing your own perspective. I gain so much strength & support hearing from other adoptive families (which sounds awful, since it means you’re having trouble too). We will make it through, I know we will. ✌🏼️
No task is too big if we have God on our side. He is the God of the impossible!!! He will hold our hand as we walk through this fire…
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