This week I've talked about the "Three Things I Wish I Had Known" about adoption. Number three, and our last, reminds us that others won't always understand. Yesterday I mentioned unmet expectations. You thought you knew what it was going to be like, but it just didn't turn out that way. Well, just like you had ideas about how it was going to play out, those around you who love and support you have their ideas as well. The problem is, your ideas crash and burn when the new one moves in. You are forced to shake those preconceived ideas in order to survive. The others, well, they never really shake them.
How does that become a problem? Think back to your waiting days. You have the room prepared, you've taken the classes, you've passed the homestudy. Maybe you've even been chosen and are in the final days before bringing her home. What were you thinking during those days? Most likely you were picturing a broken little girl who will be excited to have a forever family. No doubt some reality has slipped into your mind. You know there will be challenges, maybe some awkwardness, even some behavior. You are prepared for whatever comes your way.
Then she comes. And you're not as prepared as you thought you were. If you're like me, you weren't prepared at all. She messes up every aspect of your life. Nothing goes as planned. Your ideas lay in a crumbled, burning heap. You're already looking forward to her bedtime and you haven't even gotten her up for school yet.
That is your reality. No one outside of your four walls sees it. No one outside your four walls truly understands your struggle. Those who love you offer advice, even help, but at the end of the day, you're the one stuck to do it all over again tomorrow.
Remember, they're still living with an ideal view of the situation. They still think what you thought before she moved in. They, most likely, will never understand how hard those beginning days are. But, thankfully, those days don't last forever. A few years later and everything will smooth itself out.
Hang in there. Keep doing what you know is best. Focus on what you need to do next and not necessarily on what everyone thinks you should be doing next. It's hard. Criticism is abundant, real help can sometimes be scarce. You'll get through it. And when you come out on the other side, hopefully you'll all have a little bit better understanding of each other.