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 .
No matter how guilty I felt, nor how painful it would be for Eliza, I was still in no place physically or emotionally to bring her home. I needed Eliza to stay a while longer.
And as I have said, Evangeline had to come home.
The support people in my life were extremely worried about me and could not see how I could bring Eliza home, and still eat and parent our ten other children. They just couldn’t see how I could do it.
In my weakness, I couldn’t either. The thought of bringing her home sent chills up my spine. Yet I had no peace about leaving her.
You see, one loves the sunset when one is so sad.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
The respite family felt strongly that Eliza needed us to make a decision quickly because she was beginning to wonder what was going on, and they felt it was unfair for us to allow her to wonder. I literally could not make the decision. I had to trust my friends, and my husband who felt I just couldn’t do it yet. And If a decision had to be made right away, then the decision had to be to let her go, and hurt, and heal, and move on.
I felt weak inside, and was carried along by those in my life who loved me. At that point, I wasn’t able to make any choice at all. So the decision was made to go and get Evangeline, and tell Eliza that I was sorry, that I thought I could be her mother, that I wanted to, but I couldn’t, and that I was so very very sorry.
I needed to do the unthinkable. The shame and horror I felt at what I was about to do was crippling. I was so terribly ashamed that I could not even call the social worker at our agency, whom I loved deeply and felt a connection with the very first moment I spoke to her on the phone. I loved her, and I should have called her. But I was so ashamed that I could feel the feelings that I felt, that I didn’t call her. To this day, I regret that decision. The feelings were normal, and there was no need for me to feel shame. She could have told me that, and I could I have rested in her reassurance of my ability to love and parent Eliza. But I was too proud.
For she didn’t want him to see her crying. She was such a proud flower….~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Everyone felt that Eliza needed to hear the words from me, because if she didn’t, she would never really believe it, and would always think I was coming back and that it wasn’t true.
So the very next day, on a Sunday, I was to go and tell my daughter, Eliza, for whom I had prayed, and loved with my actions, and held and rocked and parented, and promised to love her forever, that after ten months, I couldn’t keep those promises.
It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
I didn’t sleep that night for the agony I was about to cause. Deep inside I knew I couldn’t do it. I knew it wasn’t the right decision for Eliza. But I couldn’t bear the thought of how it felt to have her in my home again either.
Her presence changed the family dynamics in our home enormously, and it wasn’t that those things couldn’t be dealt with or healed. It was that I was in no place to parent my family through all that was needed to bring Eliza home. The responsibility fell on me.
And I was a mess.
There’s so much to tell in this story. I thank you for your patience as you allow me to tell it in segments.
During the time when I was silent on my blog, I received messages from so many of you telling me that you were praying for our family and wondering how we were. I want you to know that I believe God answered every one of your prayers, the prayers I couldn’t even pray, and carried us through those dark days, and brought us back to His perfect will for Eliza’s life and for our own.
Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Thank you for keeping me faithful through your prayers when I couldn’t be myself.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. ~ James 5:16
May God bless you all for sharing this journey with me.