I am on my third adoption journey.
Three different adoptions. Three different girls. Three different journeys.
But one adoptive mom. That's me.
Lot's of things get easier after the first rodeo...
*Handling all the paperwork and appointments
*Not losing it completely when she breaks stuff on purpose
*Listening to the screaming without wanting to scream back
*Shaking the hopelessness that tells you it will never get better, when in fact it will
Those things get easier, especially that last one.
Once you've been through the trenches of older child adoption and have come out on the other side, hopelessness leaves. The next time you sign up and a new one moves in, that hopelessness won't return. Not in the same way it came and camped out the first time.
Because you know it gets better.
Because you know the screaming stops.
Because you look at the one who came first and smile, otherwise you wouldn't have signed up for the second one.
But does everything get easier?
No. I wish it did, but it doesn't. There's one thing that just doesn't seem to get any easier no matter how many spins I take on this adoption ride.
Maybe it's just me though. Maybe you've been through more than one adoption and you have this whole thing figured out.
If that's true, please share.
Until then, I'm stuck with what doesn't get easier.
I'm stuck with my own emotions.
That's the part I haven't figured out yet. That's the part that trips me up every single time.
I know she's only nine years old. I know none of this is her fault. I know I need to be compassionate, understanding and patient.
I know all that. It's living it out that I found so incredibly difficult.
Because in the beginning I struggle to like her, to hug her, to even speak to her in a pleasant voice.
Sounds awful, I know.
If you've never been down this kind of adoption road, let me put it this way...
Is there someone in your life that just isn't your favorite? Someone whose personality rubs you the wrong way? Someone who seems to grate on your every last nerve to the point that if you spot her in the grocery store you immediately make a too sharp turn with your cart, knocking over two grandmas and narrowly missing a toddler and an expectant mother on your way out of the aisle?
Think about her.
Now think about moving her into your house and looking for ways to be a blessing to her when she's looking for every single opportunity not to be a blessing.
Maybe that person is your mother-in-law, maybe it's a student in your class, maybe it's a neighborhood kid or that kid's mother.
No matter how much you try, you struggle to like her, to even speak to her kindly.
That's me. In the beginning. Every time.
So, since I can't avoid her (after all she's nine and in need of constant supervision), I sought out the One who loves her perfectly and asked Him.
I asked Him to help me see her the way He does. I asked Him to help me love her the way He does. I asked Him.
And He answered.
Loving her became a choice, just like loving your hard-to-like person is a choice. Do I do it perfectly? Not at all. But I'm getting better.
Mostly because I've started seeing myself more clearly. I see myself in need of His love and guidance and help, minute by minute.
I see her the same.
That puts us on the same team. It's easier to help someone who is battling the same things. It gives a sense of camaraderie and unity. Two things we desperately need when we add to our family.
So together we take on the issues. At first she won't be working with you, but keep at it, she'll eventually come around.
And believe it or not, so will your emotions.
Mine did. All three times.