Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Friday, October 01, 2010

About Austin -

My husband's work situation was true. As his helper, I did want to ease his burden. He would have been physically here at home with the kids, but mentally at work while I was away. Always aware that his sacrifices for our family are great, I offered to stay.

Strangely, after that decision was made, I felt a sense of relief. Yes, relief.
That gave me pause. It didn't seem right.

Before cancelling, I made a *joke* that I was not *technically* FOR adoption, so I was not sure that this was going to be the right place for me. Struggling the way I have been with many aspects of the adoption journey, sitting in a conference among a large community of adoptive parents and advocates might be a tad bit uncomfortable.

I've felt highly, unusually, uncharacteristically, vulnerable lately. What if I burst out laughing at a completely inappropriate time during a speaker's presentation? Or found myself uncontrollably unable to resist the urge to roll my eyes? Not good. Not good at all.

My mental and emotional fortitude is not exactly what it once was. Like when I sat across the table from the social worker extolling my virtues as a parent just over a year ago. Showing her that I was indeed willing, ready, prepared, equipped, fit, excited even, to take on the responsibility of parenting 2 more kids. Little ones from Africa no less. Children old enough to remember their loss, their transition, their grief. I had read the right books after all.
I loved my family dearly. I felt reasonably competent, as a whole, as a mother. I was sure that our family had something good to offer.

My reserves were high. My compassion tank filled. My desire strong.
I was thrilled for the new adventure we were embarking upon.

What I did not realize was that all my strengths as a mom to biological children would not at all be what was needed for this new role as adoptive parent. I was entering a whole new ball game. All the rules suddenly changed. And I didn't know what the new ones were. What previously worked, now did not. My bag of tricks was insufficient. These new children had completely unique needs. It was all foreign to me. The 'knowledge' I had gained in preparation was so much simpler on the pages of a book, so much harder in actual real-life. The learning curve was huge. It seemed insurmountable. I became quickly overwhelmed. The set backs were consistent. I became fearful as I watched us backpedal, just when things were looking up, we would drop back again. I grew tired of how complicated everything was, longed for the simpler days gone by.

My love - as it was - which had been more than enough for our biological children - was inadequate. I would have to learn a whole new way of being, of loving, for these kids.

I was oblivious to how self seeking, how based on reciprocal action and emotion, how conditional my "love" was.

About 6 months in, I could clearly see. The adoption process had taken a huge toll on me personally.

How could I sit in a conference entitled Together FOR Adoption?

Adoption was the mechanism that exposed me to some rather unpleasant truth about myself - that I did not love as purely or selflessly as I previously supposed.

During the past few weeks, and even days when I would have been in Texas and I am instead here, some truly valuable, critical, learning has taken place. In large part to several of you.

I have to go now, my dolly needs me. I will share a few of those lessons soon.....
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Lori said...

I just love reading your blog. I know I don't comment often, but I so often read your blog and think I should just repost it to my blog because you are better at expressing how I feel then I am. Maybe that is why I can't bring myself to blog anymore. Thanks for the honesty, it is so refreshing.

this is us said...

so well written. it's stinkin hard, isn't it?

Bonnie said...

Aaahhh yes - BTDT and Live there doing it again....

One thing I know is the God uses everything in our lives for His glory and our sanctification. I often joke that I must be a particularly hard case as it has taken 8 kids (4 challenging adoptions) to even begin to see that He is sanctifying me through them. They certianly make me cling to His promises harder than ever before.

Mike and Sherri said...

I, too have been shown just how insufficient my love is for others. Our adoption was just another proverbial 'drop in the hat' to allow me to see that. Thank goodness we have a God that wants to do it for us. Christ gave his life FOR us, so that he could give his life TO us, so that he could live His life THROUGH us.

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