Sometimes, I just want to be a “plain ‘ol” mom. I want to be able to sit around a table and talk about my rough days without being looked at with wide eyed horror or like I’m a three-eyed monster. Sometimes, I just want to be so honest about my thoughts and not judged. Sometimes, I just need to be seen as a mom, wife, woman… just trying to love Jesus and her family and doing her best to do what’s right. I’m just like every other mama…
I teeter on the line between being a “Trauma Mama” (as my friend, CS calls them… people who constantly complain about the hardness that comes when your life changes) and appearing as if our family came right out of a “Leave it to Beaver” episode. I have no interest in either, I just want to be real. And, while adoption can be messy, it is also beautiful. I’ll never stop saying that. I believe it.
But, here’s some things I don’t want to say, but that I want you to know (and to know…those of you with me… you are NOT ALONE):
- There are days when I’m EXHAUSTED and WEARY and feel like I’m losing a fight. On those days, I miss how simple things used to be. On REALLY hard days, I feel like we messed everything up. It’s SO hard to say those words. It’s hard to even think them. But, on the HARDEST of HARD days, I wonder what the future holds and if we are hurting our other children. But, the TRUTH is we didn’t mess anything up. We have grown and our kids have grown and have an up-close view of tangible mercy and grace and redemption. They know what it’s like to love others and to LOVE big. The TRUTH is that doing what God has called you to do is never EASY. He doesn’t call us to EASY. I bet even Noah had fleeting thoughts as he built the ark and waited for the rains…
- And, on those super HARD days, I feel like the worst. person. ever for even thinking those thoughts.
- I hate the thought of saying it out loud, out of fear that some of the people who disagreed with our adopting would think they were right all along (YOU WERE NOT, BY THE WAY. We were meant to do this.)
- But, down deep, I know the thoughts fleeting through my brain are NOT TRUE. Because, I KNOW …without a shadow of a doubt… that God called us to THIS journey, THIS child.
- Some days, I feel weary from the burden of knowing there are people looking at OUR STORY, as they are considering adoption. I don’t want to vent and them be overwhelmed and disheartened, and I also don’t want to contribute to some view of adoption where there is no mess, no hurt. Because, ALL children need homes. –The easy kids, the hard ones, the healthy ones, the ones with illnesses, the black ones, the white ones, the young ones, the old ones… ALL of them. We ALL need families. Even when we don’t think we need families… we do.
- i screw up a lot. And, I’m really tired of hearing about “What Would Karyn Purvis Do?” Let’s all get bracelets: WWKPD?… NOT.
- Kids with hard pasts come home with a range of behaviors… manipulation, stealing, lying, bed-wetting, etc. They are all “normal.” And yet, it’s hard to talk about with my “normal friends” (those who haven’t adopted older kids) because I don’t want my child labeled. I yearn for relationships where I can be real and talk about my day without a friend eye-ing my child when their kiddo misplaces their own favorite toy or book. The truth is… my kid is a GOOD kid struggling along on his own journey. And, he’s doing pretty darn awesome.
- MOST DAYS, I’m SO thankful for this little boy. He makes me smile. He has already come SUCH a long way. We have trekked a LONG and TEDIOUS journey with him, even in the past few months. I see where and what he came from and am AMAZED at the ways in which God has protected him and shielded him – physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Had it been me, I can only imagine the shape I’d be in… I’d probably be rocking in a corner. He has changed SO much. He used to be a fighter, full of defiance and … HARD. Now, we deal with some things (that are small in comparison but feel BIG on hard days in the moment) but he left fighting behind and has tried hard to become a new version of himself when he started this new chapter of his life. He works hard, trying to obey and has attached well to his siblings. He tries to be helpful at home, doing chores and helping with his little brother.
- Attachment is HARD. I never, ever expected how hard it would be. I had grand visions of a little boy who would give hugs and we’d snuggle (because we’re all snugglers here) and we’d all be so in love with each other. After all, my “mama bear” instinct was immediately ignited for him and I prayed and fought so hard to get him good, quality care and keep him safe.
- Instead, hugs were awkward and it took 5 months to cuddle…once. For the first couple of months, there were NO butterfly feelings. I loved him because he was my son, but I didn’t expect the feelings that came instead of the butterflies…. The truth is… why wouldn’t attachment be hard? Expecting a child who has never known what a family looks like to seamlessly integrate in…that’s CRAZY.
- And, again… I felt like the most horrible mother on the face of the planet. What kind of mother was I? (A NORMAL ADOPTIVE ONE, IT TURNS OUT.) (Now, we are MUCH better but are still journeying towards complete attachment.)
- There are some days where it doesn’t feel like he cares. About anything other than his immediate gratification. And, fear grips me. And, I feel overwhelmed with my responsibility to help him un-learn the negative behaviors he’s spent the past 7-8 years learning and to teach him to connect with others and love others and most of all, to love Jesus. I feel overwhelmed and the fear of failing this task is SO HARD. My mind darts to the future and the what-ifs and I just don’t want to fail God and the little boy He entrusted me with. But, the TRUTH is… it’s our responsibility to train him up to know and love Jesus… but beyond that, it’s up to him. And, it’s up to God. Not me. Maybe I didn’t get the first years of his life, but God has protected him and shielded him and He will not abandon him now. My fears are simply a distraction from the truth.
- We adopted because we love Jesus and wanted to share our home with a child who didn’t have a family. That’s it. Not because we were super patient or had super powers. Not because we were bored or rich. Not because we wanted more kids (not that we don’t…it just wasn’t the reason.) The truth is….We’re just … normal (mostly)… people. Please don’t expect more from me than any other mama who spends her days pouring into her littles.
- And, sometimes, I just want to get out of the house. Alone. I homeschool 4 little kids and I pour BEYOND what I have into them on a daily basis. My days don’t end at 5 pm. They never end on some days…like when fevers or stomach bugs visit our home. Some days I get super excited about getting out… or look super tired… it’s not because I hate my kids (I DON’T)… I just need a break. And, by break, I don’t mean a playdate at the park, where I’m on high alert for child predators, moving vehicles, potential broken bones, or on the run children!
At the end of the day, I just want to be a mom… just like you. I want to sit around a table with friends and be able to admit “this is HARD” without people hearing, “this was a mistake” instead. Sometimes, I just want to be able to talk about a hard day and people know I’m talking about that day, that moment… not that my life sucks. (Because, if we’re being honest, we ALL have hard days… I remember having 3 kids under the age 4 while my husband was deployed and that was HARD of a different kind. But, still…HARD). I want my son to be seen as a kid…not as the potential source of trouble because his beginnings started out a little differently. –Because, the truth is… each of our kids have their own “stuff” to deal with. I want us to be heard and seen and loved…with no mental assessments or judgements.
Because this journey we are on? It’s just a journey… much like yours.
And, we don’t regret it, it’s worth it. He’s worth it.