A NOTE TO THE READER: This is one post in a series of posts that will share the story of how I came to know and grew to love my daughters who were adopted at fourteen years old, mere days before they aged out of the adoption system. It does not reflect my feelings now. If you are joining me in the midst of the series, you can access the whole story by clicking on The Silent Months on the top menu bar of my blog. I choose to share my story to address a topic that is taboo in the adoption community. I share it to normalize the feelings that so many feel and yet are too ashamed to share. I share it to provide support to those who feel alone because there’s a big white elephant in the room, and no one can talk about it. I share it in support of adoption, in support of every single precious child waiting for a family, every one of which deserves to be loved and is lovable, every single one. Why can’t we talk about it? The feelings are real. The process of attachment can be easy and it can be painful, and the more we support parents who experience the painful side of adoption, the more we help the children. There are far too many disruptions, especially of older children, and if we as a community can come to see the feelings and the process as normal, perhaps we can provide support to those families and in doing so, help the children. Adoption is rooted in pain and loss, and often the process is painful. AND it’s okay. Before you offer your criticism, please read, Eliza Today, A Preface, and God’s Heart and Workers for His Harvest Field .
Here’s the letter almost exactly as I wrote it. I changed a few things for the purpose of anonymity.
Thanks for messaging me. I think of you often and try to follow your posts as I can.
Life is HARD around here. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that I haven’t written much on my blog. I haven’t written because I honestly can’t think of anything nice to say.
My attachment with Evangeline is okay, perhaps even good, but it is still hard. She’s due for another spinal surgery this winter which has the potential to paralyze her. I love her. She’s my daughter now, but it is really hard.
And Eliza is so very difficult to get to know. We still don’t know if she is MR or autistic or both or if she is perfectly fine and just experiencing post traumatic stress and orphanage stuff. She cannot occupy herself at all. She has no attention span. She cannot play. She has not formed normal friendships among her siblings. She is hyper and breaks things. She is difficult to take outside the house because of her behavior. She whines and hangs on me most of the day. She pouts.
I do not want to be her mother. I do not want to be her mother. There, I said it. And I feel so awful about it. This child longed for me, and I can’t feel it for her. How can I be so bereft? It’s like some terrible flaw in me. She loves me. Yet I can’t attach to her.
Our bios have been affected too.
Mark and I are struggling. Our kids need more in their lives. I don’t know if I can keep homeschooling. I have been having terrible anxiety and have lost 40lbs. I weigh what I weighed when I got married. It’s good that I lost weight, but I fainted at a doctors appt for Eliza on Wednesday and was taken by ambulance to the hospital and the Dr. said I was starving to death. I was terribly dehydrated and had so many ketones in my urine that she couldn’t believe I was walking around like that.
I don’t know where to go from here or how to get any help. I am so embarrassed about my feelings and my utter failure at loving this precious child that God has given me that I can’t even call my agency. I have never felt so alone.
I manage the girls like they are toddlers.
Life is so hard here right now.
I hear you about the rages. I’m so sorry for the news about your daughter. I’d love to talk sometime.
Praying for you.
Yep. I wrote that. The blessing amidst those awful words that I choose to share is that Facebook message was the beginning of healing in my life. It was the beginning of my ability to feel like their mother. I believe it was the expression of the reality of my awful feelings, and the friends who reached out to help me, that is the reason I am in the, honestly, wonderful place I am today with both of our adopted daughters.
If I were not at this place of healing, and our girls weren’t so incredibly secure in their position in our family, and in their confidence in our love for them, I could never be so open about the pain. But as I will share with you, there was enormous pain for all of us before we felt the glimpses of healing and genuine love for each other. And we walked this painful path together, so none of this is news to them.
And perhaps most of all, expressing my feelings, allowed the girls to show their love for me and to forgive me for my weaknesses. The grace my precious daughters were able to show me when I was in such a dark place blessed me beyond words. Such a deep love began to grow then in my heart as I witnessed their ability to forgive me, to see their dear mother as human and faltering, and love me still. Now that spark of pure love that began amidst the pain has burgeoned and blossomed into a beautiful garden of love and grace and beauty in our hearts. We’ve hurt each other, and healed. And our love is stronger for the painful path we’ve walked together.
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32 ESV)
So as Jesus said to Simon Peter before he fell, I choose to be open to you who may be struggling too, so that you may be strengthened in your own walk through my willingness to be vulnerable to you.
May it all be for God’s glory.