So, one month ago today, the most awesome thing happened. Jocelyn and Lanie became American citizens, after tolerating a VERY long day filled with flights and more flights and waiting and more waiting. The trip was about what I expected ;)
So much that I could say about the last month. The dilemma comes when posting things on a public forum, such as a blog. Do I say everything is great and wonderful? Do I talk about the struggles we have had? What do people want to hear? Before I adopted, I think I wanted to hear that everything was wonderful and all children just slid right into their families, even though I logically knew that wasn't the truth. I have seen other bloggers open themselves up to lots of criticism and worse, by being honest about the truth that adoption can be hard, the hardest thing you may ever do, and im just not sure i'm ready for it. But I think, there can be a medium there. Potential adoptive parents need to know that everything isn't glitter and unicorns after you get these kids home. We work so hard and so long and fundraise and paperwork and EVERYTHING that goes into getting these kids home, that sometimes I think we forget we will actually have to parent that child we have worked for.
I think one of the reasons adoptive parents are so reluctant to be REAL, is that there is a mentality that "we asked for this". Well, of course we choose the girls. We choose to bring them home even knowing that they had down syndrome and other delays. We knew it. We choose them. We choose life for them. But does that mean that it is never hard? Does that mean that I shouldn't be able to complain to a friend or family? Does that mean that I should struggle in silence? No, I don't believe it does so here is the truth.
Both of our girls are very delayed. It wasn't a surprise as we had read their files before committing and of course Jared met them in September before we were able to bring them home. Knowing in my head that they were delayed, and even understanding the "why" of it, is not the same thing as caring for them every day. Neither girl is mobile or verbal, and they both have varying degrees of institutional behaviors such as head banging, rocking, self aggression, eye contact avoidance. We have one child who is desperate for any kind of kind word or kind touch, and one that would be very happy to lay on the floor and have no contact at all. One of my children was not treated very kindly, from what we can tell. We will be dealing with the repercussions from that for many, many years to come.
Honestly, the days are hard, we all got the flu as soon as we got home, so our beginning was made even harder. Physically caring for both girls is hard, carrying and changing and hauling them around, feeding and diapers and all that. Finding a new normal is coming slowly, very slowly. I hate asking for help, really really hate it, and so I am learning a lesson in humility these days. I asked for help from other parents to get Eli to school, as I was having to wake up the girls everyday and it was stressful for all of us. Accepting that my kids are eating a lot of sandwiches and fast food right now, and that is okay too.
Laying out the reality of our days to a very few trusted friends and having them assure me, yes, it is normal to be hard. It is okay to cry. It is okay to struggle. Hearing others say those words is SO helpful to me, to feel that I am not alone in all this.
In fact, I had just poured my heart out to a friend the other night, really telling her everything I was struggling with, and today I opened up my mail to the sweetest letter (from someone I don't even know) telling me how she had been following our adoptions and wanted to bless us with a little surprise. Dear friend, your note was exactly what I needed today, it lifted my spirits like you cannot even imagine. Thank you so very much!
Now, I know you only come to read to see the pictures ;) so here you go!