**August 2015 update: In this post, I write some things that now make me cringe in regards to an adoptive parent centered outlook as opposed to an adoptee centered outlook. However, I am leaving it as I wrote it because this was where I was at the time and, in an effort to support the adoptee centered focus I now endorse, I want other adoptive parents to be able to see and identify with the points from which I’ve come. I would, however, like to point you to this post, which is where I presently am in this journey of adoption.**
Today was a hard day. Truth be told, it was a hard, long week of late nights, early mornings, and a 2:30am bedside crawl-in by a toddler who wanted to curl up with me, himself already blissfully adjusted to the stank of diaper poop.
So I wallowed today. It was rainy and dark and I moped. Life is hard, marriage is hard, having kids is hard, having a kid who still doesn’t totally feel like yours is hard… I really moped it up. And then, after folding an hour’s worth of laundry resulting from our current non-routine of my being back at work after summer break and Ryan having been traveling for 2 of those 4 weeks (mopey-mope-mope), I started crawling out of the hole I dug for myself with my desperate bare hands. A close friend called. A former student called.
(Side note: My former student is in her 20’s now- I had her when I taught a self-contained middle school class in the South Bronx. A conversation we had tonight:
“Miss, my new case worker is nice. She whiiiiiite (as in, ‘Crazy, right?’).”
“Afua, I’m white (laughing).”
“I KNOW (as in, ‘Clearly I have considered this and deemed this fact inconsequential to OUR friendship. Still pertinent in case worker connection however.’).”)
While I was reluctantly emerging from my self induced pout fest, I pictured God (I don’t ever picture what God looks like, but I do imagine his different traits personified. This was my slightly preachy elderly family member God version- the one that speaks in a loving tone but calls you right on out on your crap.) metaphorically patting me on my back and saying, “Oh, dear. You thought your life was all about you again didn’t you?”
And then I read this on the blog White Sugar, Brown Sugar which is written by a mom who adopted two black daughters:
Isaiah 61:3 talks about how God can give “beauty for ashes.” Brokenness can be beautiful in bittersweet, strange, and unpredictable ways. Many of us who have adopted feel this conflicting and ever-present sense that adoption, even the most positive and “ideal” adoption situations, begins with brokenness.
Parents, it’s ok to say that adoption isn’t perfect. It’s ok to admit that our families were created because somewhere, there was brokenness present. It’s ok to share that we are sad, hurt, confused, upset, or anything else because the brokenness exists. It’s ok to talk about it.
S’s brokenness is now our brokenness. In a perfect world he would still be with his birth mom and he wouldn’t have an adoptive mom who has to ask when to start getting his hair cut at a barber so he doesn’t stick out as the brown kid who has a jacked up hairline. But, this ISN’T a perfect world and S.’s mom DID go through hard times and he IS part of us now. And for him, I am thankful.
I mourn the circumstances placing S. into foster care. They are wallow and mope worthy. But because I love him, I can acknowledge his beginning for what it is- his past- and choose to focus on a road laid before us… which holds every bit of joy and potential.