Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Three Things I Wish I Had Known

"I hate you!"

"You're not my mother!"

"I can't wait to leave this place!"

These were common Hannah sayings in our house seven years ago.  They were hurtful and loud and frequent.  They would sometimes drive me to tears and sometimes to the point of not wanting to do this one more day.  Those were some dark days.

I've given some thought to what would have made those days (and sometimes years) easier.  These are three things I wish I would have known from the very beginning.

1.  The misery is temporary.  On my first adoption go-around it would have been nice to know that this season passes.  I'm sure somewhere along the process someone said something like this to me, but at the time I didn't pay attention or didn't believe it would ever be that bad.  For whatever reason, I missed the boat.  When the days got long and hard I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I felt stuck and that's not a good place to be.

2.  It's okay if you don't "feel" like you love her from the first second you set eyes on her, or even the first year or two.  Love is a choice.  I choose to love my girls the moment I hear their name for the first time.  The feelings and emotions we equate with love won't necessarily make an appearance for a while.  I was embarking on a journey to love the hard-to-love.  It's not an easy one, but it certainly is worth it.

3.  Others won't always understand.  You and those who live in your house will get to know the ins and outs of this kid.  You will recognize her needs, her moods, her crazy behavior.  She may be able to hold it together for those outside of your four walls.  She may not.  Either way, they will have an unrealistic view of her capabilities and your day to day life.  

Adopting a child, especially an older one, is something very personal and unique to the individual child.  No two experiences are going to look the same.  I've had three very different experiences.  During my first adoption, I was so naive.  Some of it was a blessing, as I'm not sure I would have done it if I'd known how difficult some days would be.  The second and third time around I had these little nuggets of help stashed away in my mind.  

This week I'll spend some time elaborating on each one.  Sometimes adoption gets messy. It's okay if you don't always have it all together.  I rarely do, and those times usually last a matter of seconds before chaos reigns supreme again!  

Check out the follow-up posts here, here and here.


Sparroweye said...

Been there. But have faith. My daughter is now my best friend After giving birth to three boys we adopted our daughter at age eight. I can add one more. "you adopted me so you could have someone to punish and hate didn't you?" Add to that how she would come home from sleep overs at friends and say, So and so's Mom rides horses, bakes beautiful cakes, sews all their clothes, teaches dancing, plays the piano. You get the picture. After a while I didn't take it personal. My daughter had been deserted by all females in her eight years of life. So she was not about to bond with me right away. In fact, her first day she said. "My first adoption fell through. They sent me back. So don't try and give me that "this is your forever home speech". But, a child by adoption is mystical, fate, and magical. I should have written a book. She was meant to be my daughter all along.

A House Called Home said...

What a beautiful ending! The endings really are the best. Thank you for sharing your story. I think hearing success stories helps all of us hang in there when the going gets tough.


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