You say - "You look tired..." I say - Yep, it's been busy latley! What you should know but I don't say b/c I don't want to scare you off - (from the article) Adoption is the late night researching of attachment disorders, trauma, fetal alcohol syndrome and pouring your worries out in online support groups so you can have the strength to get up in the morning and try again. (I do get up. Every morning. Mind you, not quickly, and I drop the kids off in my jammie pants a lot, but I do get up. My strength is found in the Lord, my kids' faces, my hubby's warm embrace...I yell at the tv during football games, I eat too many snacks at night, and I go to bed too late. But I get up every morning.)
You say - "You're kids are so lucky!" I say - Nah, we're the lucky ones! What I should say but I don't b/c it will make me sound over-dramatic - (from the article) Losing their first family is not lucky; it’s unimaginable, heart wrenching loss that never, ever goes away. (I would like to add that GRIEF is a huge part of adoption and foster care, not in the way you would think. There is grief when a kid returns to the bio parents, of course, but the children themselves are grieving all kinds of losses. Some of us parents might be grieving the loss of our perfect plan too. Which, yes I know is ridiculous b/c God's plan is perfect and way better than mine, but again, there are days when I struggle w/this still. And grieving is not over-dramatic. Grief is real and it's both a burden and a gift at the same time. To miss someone, to be sad about something lost is healthy but oh so hard. I could talk a long time about this but it's not the focus of this post.)
You say - "You have free time, you're a SAHM, right?" I say - Actually I'm pretty busy. I spend a lot of time driving my kids to therapies and hello? Running a house of 6 people? Yep, busy. What I should say but don't b/c some people get really upset - (from the article) People talk about being upset their favorite show got cancelled while you are re-reading a 35 page neuropsychological evaluation through tear filled eyes. (Side note: I have my favorite shows too! This Is Us, anyone? But honestly, I do read lots of medical reports and journals and research and posts from others 'in the trenches'. And yes I cry. I am not a doctor. I do not understand trauma, medical jargon or even why the sky is blue. If a show gets canceled, I do my best to move on. If my kid is denied a therapy or a service that's helpful, LOOK OUT.)
You say - "We don't really hang out anymore...she doesn't seem very friendly..." I say - (silence) (I don't say a word to you, but I lament to my husband - If a friend can put up w/my hot mess, my lack of communication, my venting...then a friendship will happen. Otherwise, I guess I don't have too many friends, just a lot of shallow acquaintances. That's my life right now.) What I wish everyone knew but why bother them with it... - (from the article) They don’t see the late nights, the trauma behaviors, the crying every day over school, endless meetings, judgmental teachers and never ending therapies. (I really don't have a lot of friends. Every single one of my best friends lives almost an hour away to multiple states away. I've tried to make friends here, I have, but who wants a friend who is tired, busy, tangled up in a hard place w/her kids and sometimes carries a chip on her shoulder? Also, it's really hard to be there for a friend w/their own needs when your energy is spent on your family's needs. I feel like I have nothing to offer anyone! 99% of the time I'm ok w/this. Please understand, though, it's hard for me. Hard to be a friend. Hard to make friends. But I do miss friends! This is the duplicity of my life right now.)
You say - "Let me know if you need anything!" I say - We're good! What rattles around in my brain but rarely gets admitted to anyone - Admitting that some days it’s just too much would be admitting you’re feeling like a failure — wouldn’t it? (It's so hard to ask for help. I believe I am the best person for this job/parenting...and yet...I over-analyze, second guess myself and fret fret fret way too much! I have asked for help on occasion and I am promptly amazed to the moon and back how much the people around us are willing to help. We couldn't do what we do w/o some good people around us.)
I really wanted to cut-n-paste the whole article!! I think it has a big impact for me right now b/c we're in the midst of it. There's a lot people don't see behind the scenes when you parent children from hard places. One of my biggest pieces of advice for people lately has been to get to know someone different from you. This applies to a lot of situations. Of course, don't put yourself in harm's way, don't go about it alone - have someone to with whom to process what you are learning, and don't do it if you can't be respectful. But seriously, we will all benefit from a greater understanding of those who are different than us. There have been a few times in life where I have done that and I'm still doing that. I don't regret one minute of getting to know someone different than me. I see the world and the others around me in a new way each time I add to those experiences. I encourage you to read this article, to gain a greater understanding of what people around you may be going through. I also hope it helps you understand me and my crazy good life a little too! (No commas, that's not a grammatical error Auntie! It's not crazy and good, well, it is but here I meant to say that it's crazy good. B/c it is.)
PS - "The Mighty is a digital health community created to empower and connect people facing health challenges and disabilities." That's how they define their site. I think everyone can find something that makes them feel like I did after reading this article.