Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Thursday, March 19, 2015


For the longest time, it just wasn't there. I expected it, anticipated it, searched for it around all the corners. I had been warned it would rear its head upon arrival, but it was oddly, noticeably absent. I remember our social worker asking about it at a post placement visit a year into the sudden merging of our lives, once separated by continents. "Have you seen it yet?" No. I really hadn't. Maybe this was a one-in-a-million miracle case. Perhaps we would escape its clutches. 

What I didn't realize at the time was it was simply being avoided, repressed, pushed away again and again, down deep into the recesses of the mind and heart that saw it as a threat too painful to experience. 

Because, realistically, when you adopt a child of that age, one who remembers her parents and feels a deep, visceral, resounding sense of abandonment and unworthiness and paralyzing fear, its bound to crop up at some point.

Only when the grief finally arrived it didn't so much look like what I have personally known grief to be. It took on a different hue, one that was muddled with a lack of knowledge of where and how to begin to work through the heaviness of the emotional burdens she bore. 

Rather than pain, it dressed itself as anger. Instead of hurt, it adorned itself with entitlement. In the place of openly sorrowful tears were hidden manipulations intended to inflict hardship on anyone in the line of fire. Feelings of loss masquerade themselves as resentment. Where vulnerability would typically lie, there were attacks meant to ward off the pain of suffering alone. If I cause you suffer too, I make myself feel better.         

I admit, it has worked. I suffer, too. 

It's just that she failed to realize is I was already suffering alongside her. 

Her pain already was my pain. Her sorrow, mine. Her grief, my grief. Her loss, my burden.

By choice, I entered into her suffering so that I might help her bear it. She doesn't have to go it alone. We are together. While in the mire with her, doing my best to pull her out, it splatters all over me too. I fall in the muck. It surrounds us both. 

Yet, I will not leave her, turn by back, abandon, neglect, run, hide or depart. She mustn't labor to make her actions the source of my suffering, I was with her, there, before she realized it. 

It's getting hotter, the incidents more frequent, more bold, more calculated. Bit by bit, the stakes keep growing. I wish it would stop. I rarely know just what to do. I never have a clear enough picture in the exact moment I need it. It all takes tremendous effort. I want to help her see. I am not your enemy. I love you. I will always love you. You are lovable. With a thick outer shell well established, it doesn't quite sink in. Maybe she won't see it until she is older, grown. Maybe never. 

I just have to keep reminding myself it is my job regardless of the outcome. Adapt where necessary, stay The Ultimate Course.

God, grant me wisdom, patience, stamina, and great, without end or condition, LOVE. 
"Things I can do when I'm tempted to make someone else feel bad to make myself feel better..."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've read your blog for some time because I can relate, and because I love reading of your successes in reaching your kids who came thru adoption. Also impressed with your hubby's carpentry skills and your creativity! You expressed this struggle within your daughter so eloquently. I am so sorry your daughter has to suffer all of these losses and be confused about how to do move through and past them. We have five adopted, four of which were international adoptions, two of those girls who came home at 10 and 11yrs. I so identify with your struggles and pain. Our older of the two late comers went through some of these things, but made it through much of it easier and sooner. Our youngest daughter, now 18, has struggled longer. She is the one who met her birth mother in the process of adoption at about age nine. She had been placed in the orphanage around 18months and had never seen her until it was needed for DNA. We have seen much, much improvement,though it's come through hard work and much conversation from both of us. Well, ok. Mostly she listened. or didn't. Or had an attitude. But I kept talking about things I thought were helpful, things I thought she needed to hear in her heart. Besides the pain and difficulty for both of us, there have been two incidents now where all of our progress could have been destroyed because people outside our family got involved in ways they thought were helpful...but have not been. Pain and accusations upon pain. Pretty awful! But I do see much hope, and it's come in spurts over the 7yrs she's been home. Our daughter home at ten is in college. And though we went through an extremely difficult situation with her, God saw us through. She really does consider me a close friend now, possibly because she witnessed hubby and I walking with her through her heartbreaking situation. She considers me a close friend now and looks to us for advice and comfort. She understands now how difficult she made it and can see more clearly why she acted the way she did. I do expect our youngest to also get to that point, possibly in the coming years, as she graduates from high school next year. I'm trusting God for it. I'm sorry if that may sound discouraging...that you may need to wait until she is out on her own. I surely hope and pray her healing comes sooner. I just wanted to encourage you to stay the course, as I know you will. That there are others who totally get what you're talking about, when few but the moms in these trenches ever sees the real battle. Even husbands don't always get it, as it seems pretty universal that most of the anger and distancing is saved for adoptive moms. It is by far the hardest thing I've done as a mother, loving a child who works so hard at not allowing you to love them. But like our daughter, I know yours also deserves everything you can give her in terms of love and support and being with her in her own pain. Tho there are no guaranteed results, I can trust for myself and for you, that God brought these particular kids to each of us specifically because He knew our strengths and gave us the commitment to love them no matter what. It's excruciating, it's horrible, it's so, so hard. But our kids deserve every ounce of hard work we put into their journey. Even when I have to remind my own self still now and then!
Nancy in the Midwest

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