Being an adoptive parent means having to constantly fight for what our children need. It’s never easy. Putting on that brave face, that armor every day, means it can sometimes be too hard to let that more vulnerable side of us be seen. There are some things you will never hear an adopter say………………… I’ll […]
This blog post puts so eloquently what I was talking about in “2 AM Phone Call Mom
Adoptive Mom is a badge I wear proudly. I am proud of the story that God weaved (and is weaving) together to form my family. I am proud of the hard work that went into creating this amazing family I call mine. However, sometimes that’s not what I see for myself. Adoptive mom, Biological mom, Foster mom, ect. There are SOO many labels to preface mom with that sometimes I forget that the most important part is the MOM part.
This week has been REALLY hard. Preston is sick and has been for 7 days. With multiple ER trips and no definitive answer as to what is going on Joel and I are focusing more in easing his pain and discomfort and being there when he needs us. This has resulted in shift work parenting. I take most nights and Joel takes days and we switch when we need to. I am so thankful to have this amazing man to help carry this burden of parenting that feels just a bit heavier when we have a sick little one! Having a sicky sick face kid pulls on ALL my mom heart strings. One night, around 11pm when Joel ran to Walgreens for some drinks and snacks that Preston could tolerate, I was snuggling with my boy and at a complete loss for what was wrong and how to fix it. As a parent you want to fix it and take away the pain and all I could do was be with him and snuggle for a while. I mean he didn’t even want a popsicle! (He did say that he wanted it when his stomach was nice again though! 🙂 ) As I sat there confused and worried, I practically subconsciously reached for my phone and called my mom. My mom who was hours away and maybe sleeping. My mom who quickly answered and offered a listening ear and some support.
It was at that moment that it hit me. I don’t want to be an “adoptive mom” I want to be a “2am phone call mom”. I want to be the kind of mom that so fills up her kids with love and support that they automatically reach out to me when they need something. That they know without a shadow of a doubt that I will be there for them anywhere, anytime. The kind of mom where they don’t worry if I will be upset or mad or if they will get in trouble, but they know that should there be consequences we will deal with them together, as a team. That even if they made a horrible choice, I will without thinking come and help and we can deal with the rest later. That’s the kind of mom I strive to be. The kind that stay up all night with a sick boy who only wants to snuggle. Who listens to ENDLESS pre-teen drama and helps sort it out. Who encourages kids to find their own solutions, but will be there should they need some options.
I am so lucky and thankful to have many MANY people I could call in the wee hours of the night that would help, listen, advise, and support. I have countless friends and family that I often lean on for support. But in those moments when you are at the end of your rope, tired and confused, feeling inadequate and hopeless you just want your mom. You want to reach out to a person you felt safe with when you were small and sick or scared.
That’s the mom I want to be. That’s the relationship I hope and pray that I am cultivating in my children. I want them to know that no matter how horrible or hard or confusing or just stressful things are they ALWAYS have someone in their corner, even if it is just to listen. That’s the reason I give my all to this thing called motherhood. That is what is so heartbreaking when I think of unadopted kids in foster care. That sense of security and a home base, that is more of a person that a place really. That belief, that is of VITAL importance, that you are loved and cared about. That belief that is so ingrained you have no reason to doubt or question it. I missed out on building that belief from conception and early childhood. To build that from scratch starting at age 7, or 5, or 3 is more challenging then I would have guess, but it is also more important that I would have dared to believe.
So every late night, every tearful conversations, every brainstorming of solutions, every advocating for them is for this purpose: That my children not only “know” but believe in their innermost core that they are loved and cared for and that I will be there for them NO MATTER WHAT.
I have been MIA from the blogging world for quite some time. Rest assured, it is because I have been soaking up the extra time I have to spend with my amazing children. Since November is National Adoption Month I felt the need to follow up on last years post: Don’t Do it!
Here’s the thing, everything I wrote there was true. Adoption is horrendously difficult, but then small moments pass me by during the day and I stop and marvel at how amazing adoption is. For example, while the kids were in school today I was doing some house cleaning that is easier with no kids around. I went to clean the sliding door. We recently found window markers when cleaning out some craft stuff and the kids have LOVED using them. As I opened the shade to clean I came across this:
With no prompting or big theological discussion I found my children (one of my girls since they are the only ones that can read) expressing their love of God and the fact that GOD IS GOOD!!! Yes, all parents would be proud of that, but this literally took my breath away. My children have experienced LITERALLY the WORST humanity can offer. Practically every vile, horrifying, nauseating thing you can think of that happens to children happened to my amazing kids. They came into our home with only 11 months of safety in their ENTIRE LIVES. They had every reason to believe that the world and everyone in it was evil. That they lived in a ‘dog eat dog’ world and they better get prepared.
Yet here I sit, 25 months after my kids moved in marveling at how God has used their lives to teach me so much about His love. How if my kids can believe so intrinsically that God is good that it comes out in their play/crafts how can I not be more firm in my belief?
After I wiped my tears I continued cleaning (but didn’t clean the window!) and this song came on my playlist:
This song sums up nearly everything I wanted to say about adoption. You know adoption will be hard, but how hard it is can be surprising to say the least!!!! I have wondered many times in this journey if there was hope to carry on, hardly believing that the horrifying circumstances in our life would be made good let alone beautiful! Yet here I am, living out each day noticing the small ways that this HAS been made beautiful! At times I fear what life will look like for me and my kids in the next 5, 10, 15, and 20 years. Yet if God can do what He has already done in all of our lives in just 25 months, imagine what He can do in 20 years!
Yes, adoption is hard. Your heart will break, you will question EVERYTHING you know, you will think you made a HUGE mistake, that the kids would be better off with almost literally anyone else. You will be sure that you have further traumatized them. What’s hard to remember in those times is that the result isn’t up to you. You pour in love and support and safety and a million other things, but in the end you offer up your life’s most important work (parenting your children) at God’s feet, praying that He will bring a harvest. Believing, sometimes in spite of everything you see and feel and hear and experience, that yes, EVEN THIS can be made beautiful!
Today summer starts! Today Skye and Cayka finished their school year. It was a year full of bumps and challenges but also full of hope and growth! The kids physically grew SOOOO much! That’s good because they had a lot of catching up to do. We grew and bonded as a family and overcome a lot of challenges. We have learned more about our kids and what they need. Where to be strict and were to be flexible. We have watched them develop into their own unique personalities and loved getting to know them as they become more comfortable.
Today we worked together as a family to pack and get to our vacations. I got to see my kids so excited (like silent screams and saying things like “just calm down Cayla, we’re not there yet”) I got to see the kids be respectful even when tired and cramped. I saw kids using their words and asking for what they need.
When we got to the vacation I saw them voicing their concerns (about bears and mom being eaten by one when I said I would keep them safe no matter what) and see them make up their own games and play in the same yard my grandma, dad and I played in when we were young.
Today I feel so unbelievably blessed. Will we have hard times adjusting to the summer? Absolutely! But I am confident that together as a family we can meet those challenges!
Lately we have had some good weather here. Its definitely feeling like summer. We have transformed our garage to an outdoor eating and grilling area and organized all the kid stuff and yard stuff so we have so much room. When it’s not raining, and not cold, we are almost always outside. The girls and I have even done homework outside instead on coming in! The kids loving being outside and are so much more well behaved when they have no engr. left from running and playing. All 3 kids can now ride bikes with no “tiny wheels” or training wheels so I’m looking forward to bike rides this summer! Only a handful of days left of school and then it will be summer! This weekend has been a great preview of what summer will be like. The kids are less stressed since they are in a environment where they know what to expect and what is expected of them (which they don’t always know at school). I mean there were MULTIPLE rounds of monopoly junior played this weekend with no board flipping or crying!!
We have under a week left of school for the girls. Preston is already done! I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am! This latest transition is effecting the kids SOOO differently. It’s hard as a mom to meet the needs of all 3 when they need such different things!
Skye – she has always had a tougher time in school. Fighting with the school for the supports she needs has been an ongoing struggle. One I have included PACER in lately. She is barely holding it together but she is trying so hard! The transition combined with hormones (ugggg, puberty) is difficult. Trying to teach a hormonal pre-teen that she has to show respect regardless of what she feels is difficult. It’s something I’m still trying to learn myself! Using her words and keeping it together during the school days have been tougher. Her relationship with me has been more antagonistic and I’m trying to be calm and collected but it can get hard. Regardless of the difficulties Skyr is rocking it academically. She is reading much better (I even caught her reading after bedtime one night and I couldn’t even be mad) and is working on long division and fractions! In only 2 full years of school and spotty attendance before that she has learned soooo much! And she is simultaneously trying to figure out social situations as well as living life in a family.
Cayla – she loves school. Well, loves the learning and the fun but has trouble at times with peers. I cannot believe that she is finishing kindergarten! She has grown so much this year. She is reading and writing her own stories and notes to people. She has a drawing journal used to draw Joel and I pictures when she was in school. Sometimes (especially when tired) she takes things personally that really aren’t. Like if she and a friend agreed to spend choice time playing in the kitchen and then her friend choose to do blocks instead she would get very sad and say her friend was being mean to her. Completely normal kid feeling and we are working on perspective and people changing their minds. I think we will finish that lesson in about 20 years. 😋 She is bummed that summer is coming as she loves school but has asked to make some play dates to see her friends this summer and is excited for her birthday party and summer school with me.
Preston – He is already done with school. If you are Facebook friends with me see the side by side pictures of his first and last day of school. I swear he grew about 6 inches. He had fun in school. Sometimes it was difficult for him to keep a calm body during “learning time” but he’s a 4 year old boy! Joel and I debated having him do another year of preschool since he has a summer birthday. He’s on a waiting list for a 4 day preschool but current plan is to send him to kindergarten. He’s a boy and I don’t know that a year will change his crazy boy-ness but also because he has made such good friends this year that are moving on to kindergarten. Academically he is right on track and we will work this summer on different preparedness stuff. Who knows, maybe a slot for the 4 day preschool will open up and we will change our minds. Man, trying to make such a long term decision is difficult! He’s having a hard time with the idea of being away from me all day next year. Recently I went with Cayla on a field trip and was gone for the day. That night when I was tucking Preston in he cried and said he missed me all day. That will be a hard transition whenever he has to make it.