A while back, in the Waiting is Harder Now post I mentioned that I was going to post about my emotional reaction to these next steps in the adoption journey. And, well, I never got around to that. I was, quite honestly, hoping that all the emotional crazies would go away. But, alas, they did not.
Anyway, here is how it started: I first noticed everything unraveling in my mind on Oct. 19th. Remember the post for that day? Home Study Complete? Well that was the day that we found out that not only was our home study complete and approved but that there was a sibling group of 2 girls up north that out social worker wanted to submit our names for. It was also our engagement anniversary. Those are the same two girls that we interviewed for last monday and that we are currently waiting to hear on. Waiting, there is that word again. I am just simply not a good waiter. A really great and supportive friend told me last time we talked that she cannot believe how patient I have been during this whole process and how I have kept it all together. Ok, the last “kept it all together” part might not have been what she actually said, but it is how I interpreted it. I’ll have to ask Whitney what she actually said. 🙂
Back to my
craziness emotional responses. Ever since the moment we gave our social worker the go ahead to submit our home study I felt my anxiety spike. “That’s all perfectly normal” I hear experienced adoptive mothers reading this saying. And you would all be correct. A normal level of anxiety would be normal. But then I would remind you that here in the Longanecker clan we do nothing normal, least of all anxiety. Or more simply I would say that I have struggled with anxiety disorders my whole life and this was far from “normal anxiety”.
After much reflection and many 50 minute therapy sessions (yes, I am a prospective adoptive mother that goes to therapy and I plan to continue for the good of my children and my own mental health. And it is fun to have someone who HAS to listen to you for almost a whole hour!) I came to the realizations that some of the anxiety was coming from the huge step forward we just took in the adoption process to know actual names (and sometimes faces) of kids that need homes and to get that much closer. This was not a huge surprise. The rest, the stuff that kept me up at night sometimes, was my trauma stuff and things not dealt with from my childhood. There were things that I had locked in a box in my mind and considered that “dealt with”. The more we were confronted with children that had trauma (regardless of the type of trauma, trauma is trauma) the more I was confronted with the fact that while I can deal with trauma day in and day out in my job (hopefully not all the time though for the sake of my clients), this would be different.
At home I cannot, and would not want to close off any part of my to my children, ESPECIALLY when they need health role models of how to process and move past trauma. At every stage in my life, every major change I have taken one more step towards moving past my trauma. It is not as if I have not been to therapy MANY MANY times before. This stage just requires more. Being faced with the reality in the form of faces, names, and stories, of bringing traumatized children into my home and being faced with the task to love them and support them through everything made me realize that, on Oct. 19, I would not be able to do that. My own stuff, as much as I had worked on it, would still get in the way.
So, I went to my therapist and started EMDR. I am not promoting any specific therapy on this blog as I have gone through many many different types, this is just the one I am going through now. In all honesty the first session felt a bit like a load of bullocks but man did it stir stuff up in me. I came home from the first couple of session completely broken. That is the only way I can describe it. Each week when it was time to go, I have -10% desire to go b/c it was hard and things kept getting harder the more I was going. But I knew one thing and one thing only. I was going to be a mom. Moms do things that are not fun for the good of their children. This was not in the slightest pleasant for me (or Joel for that matter, he really is a Saint).
Now, about 2 months later, things are still hard and I am anxious, but more the normal “Oh my goodness they are picking between 3 families for these amazing little girls and I pray so hard that it is us they pick” anxiety. That and now we find out sometime next week who they pick. For some reason, waiting 6 days seems a LOT harder than the 5 month wait did.
I want to be a mom that my kids can come to with anything, ANYTHING and know that I will not shut down or close them out. I can now say, two months, many crying showers, and many hard days later that I am closer to that goal. I am sure that once I am a mom there will be more challenges and days that are hard, and I sure hope I can live up to my goal. Wait a minute Katie, lets be honest, you can’t. No one possible can all the time, but now I am in a better place to more of the time.
So now I am waiting. My heart is open and loving these 2 little girls in north mn. That may be reckless as they are not ours or unbelievable as I have never met them, but my heart is filled with love and compassion for them. Now we wait to see who will love them forever in their home.