Having pre-adoptive kids is weird. They are our kids, and/but technically they aren’t. Someone can take them away. We have to have permission to take them across state lines. I have to tell a social worker about every bump and bruise. Our home is a revolving door with social workers, guardians, therapists, etc. coming and going. We can’t sign anything for them. We have all of the responsibility, and none of the control. We know it, and the kids know it.
Any good parent knows that their kids will not (should not?) always like them. It’s not our job, as parents, to be liked. It’s our job to keep them safe, love them, and help them turn into functioning members of society. I feel comfortable with this line with Jax. I feel confident that, even though he may not always like our rules or stucture, our bond is safe. His love for me is not conditional. He may not always like us, but I am pretty darn sure he will always love us. If he were to complain to someone about us, it wouldn’t feel personal. So, back to the whole “having pre-adoptive kids is weird” thing. It feels very personal when they complain about us or we feel like they don’t “like” us.” Despite understanding this is normal, it feels threatening and stressful in this situation. It is unlikely that anyone will ever ask Jax, “so how do you like having your Mom and Dad as parents? Do you like it there?” J and A get asked questions like this pretty regularly. I believe it gives them an unhealthy feeling of control over the situation, which includes an underlying tone as though this has the potential for not being permanent if it’s not working out. It’s scary for the kids, and it’s scary for us. We are so ready for this adoption to be finalized!
I should probably update you that I am 90% less of a train wreck than I was Mon-Wed last week! Admittedly, this rollercoaster journey has had some higher highs and lower lows recently. I am incredibly thankful to have a partner in crime to tag in and out with as needed. As long as I’m feeling thankful, I also feel grateful to have an in-home therapist that knew with one look on Wed that she needed to give us a couple hour break rather than do family stuff. The kids have a social worker that will answer her phone any day or time, which is pretty phenomenal and rare, I’m assuming. Friends/family/neighbors are coming out of the woodwork to support us, and please hear me when I say it has a profound effect on our ability to get through some days. The cards are definitely stacked in our favor, and even in our darkest of hours we know with certainty our family is exactly the way it’s supposed to be. I smile when I hear Phillip Phillips “Gone Gone Gone” song: “I’ll share in your suffering to make you well, to make you well.” Mark my words, these kids will be well.
J asked me today (again) what would happened if he burned our house down. “What do you mean?” I asked, trying to buy some much-needed time to formulate an answer. “LIke…where would I go?” Holy cow – I think he is asking me if we would “keep” him even if he burns our house down. For the record, I am (kind of) pretty sure this is metaphorical. (RIGHT!?) Disclaimer: I have no idea what I’m doing. Seriously. Anyway, I told him: “Well, buddy, I don’t think that will happen. Dad and I are working really hard to keep everyone in the house safe, and you are getting stronger and learning how to make safer choices. If it did happen, then all five of us would find another house to live in.” He paused for awhile, and then asked – “our whole family?” I wish I could make him believe me when I say that nothing he can do, even burning down our whole damn house, will change the fact that he is our son. Somewhere along the line, our fake love progressed into real love. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but when I answered him with absolute certainty that burning down our house wouldn’t stop us from loving him, it occurred to me that the love isn’t only “real,” it’s unconditional.