Sometimes, yes, oft times, adoption is not fun, rainbows, unicorns, giggles and laughter. Sometimes, it is hard. Really hard.
I know we all like to hear of the good times, the warm fuzzy blogs, the ones where you go to adopt and everyone lives happily ever after. Wow. How amazing and nice that would be. But that is not the real world… nor the real expectations of adoption.
Our children are our world… our very heartbeat. They are amazing, resilient, and strong… for the most part. But then there are days that they are broken, hurt, confused, teary and just full of emotions that normally are not good ones. I have heard the saying, adopt them “as young as possible” so you can avoid the trauma, the memories, the baggage. Trust me when I say, “trauma, night terrors, pain, hurt, heartbreak” is no respect of person. It can happen to a child that is adopted straight from the hospital as well as the child that is adopted at age 13 and aging out of the system. There are no guarantees in adoption (as there are no guarantees in having a biological child).
So to put it bluntly… adoption is a leap of faith. What I am going to say next is probably not very popular. That is fine. I am not about being popular… I am about being honest.
The kind of things in this arena that make me crazy are when families go to Ch*na to adopt and they leave the child there. There have been crazy reasons… and I do mean CRAZY. For instance.. one family left their “son” there because he didn’t have enough hair. One family left their child there because she cried too much. (You JUST took the child from everything and everyone they know… you better hope they cry). One family left their child because she was so shell-shocked that she DIDN’T cry. One family left their aging out daughter there because she was 13 and picked a toy/book that seemed much younger than her chronological age. One family left their child there because she cried to go swimming. Wow. Insane. All I can do is shake my head and ask… what in the world were they thinking. I wonder… were they truly prepared for adoption… did they talk to others, did they read, did their agency tell them to subtract so many months off their age for each year they lived in an orphanage, or did they just go to adopt expecting a smart, perfect child that, God forbid, should have known English from day one. Oh yeah.. there is a family that thought that too… how could I have left them off!??!
So let me tell you how I see it. Imagine that YOU are that child that is being adopted. Some white faced person that speaks a crazy language is there to take you home. I can only imagine that the child is thinking… Are you insane? You want me to go with these people that I have never met? You want me to be happy instantly? You want me to just laugh, jump for joy and then be the perfect little angel? You want me to enjoy the fact that they look, smell, talk and eat differently that we do? You want me to instantly understand English? Are you insane? Yes, I can imagine that our newly adopted children think that and so much more.
I look at my biological children. If something would have happened to me when they were younger and they were put up for adoption and a foreign couple walked in and said, I am here to take you home.. how would MY biological child have reacted? It would NOT have been pretty. Let me promise you. They would have screamed, kicked, hit, spit, scratched and everything else. They would have retreated into a shell of who and what they really were. How in the world can we expect differently from a child that we go and uproot from everything and everyone they have known?
And then we get them home. We think life is grand and that all is well. The child is settling in nicely and bonding appropriately. Wow. Awesome. Great. Then one day… one little thing triggers something that sets them off. They don’t even know why. They just know the only way to deal with it is to act out. At that moment, OUR true character comes out. The way we deal with that trauma, hurt and pent up angry or disappointment is an indication of how prepared we really are. At that moment, we can choose to take it personally and react negatively or we can be nurturing. Now, am I always perfect and do I always react in the correct manner? No, a thousand times, NO! But I am learning to listen to an inner voice saying… slow down… back down… something else is going on. There is a bigger picture than what the naked eye can see.
So, to put an end to my rambling for the day… I am going to finish by saying this…
We all adopt for different reasons. For me, it was that I could no longer have children and I had always wanted to adopt. The reason I went to Ch*na is because I prayed and I felt my children were there. For each of us, I am sure the reason is different than the next persons. But, if we could all remember that these are children. They are human beings. They are not exchangeable for a different, better or younger model. They are real human lives that we are impacting… either positive or negative.