Joy

I have always struggled with an internal battle about the balance between telling the whole story of adoption from foster care and protecting the privacy of our children.  I want to be honest about the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I also don’t want my kids to resent me for telling too much of their story down the road.  It’s easy to share the beautiful moments.  I’m passionate about adoption and foster care.  I want more people to do it.  Also, I have had fleeting moments where I want to tell people to RUN when they talk about considering it.  Those moments are coming more and more infrequently.  Much like the pain of child birth, lots of our growing pains are kind of a blur now.  Was it really that bad?   I don’t know.  I do know that we got so, so, lucky.

I spend a lot of time preaching to others that they shouldn’t expect their kids to be grateful for being adopted.  It’s a *huge* trauma to be adopted from foster care, and it ensures that there were plenty of other huge traumas prior to that.  If you are looking for a “thank you,” you should probably go rake someone’s lawn instead or something.  Don’t adopt. Ok, so all that being said, our kids really are grateful.  It amazes me, and shocks me, and inspires me.  Truly.  So…rather than talk about adoption in a general sense, today I just want to share the JOY in our house.  Please don’t think this is normal.  It’s not.

At bedtime tonight, out of the clear blue sky, Jacob blurts out after a big sigh- “I’m just so glad I have a safe house.  And a safe family.  That never hurts me.  And never stops taking care of me.”  Sometimes I wish I could just wear one of those cameras on my head and tape this stuff – it’s just so beautiful i want to remember it forever.  (And also I’m fairly certain no one believes they actually say stuff like this?!)   I headed down to tuck Alyssa in, and saw she had picked out the book “We Belong Together” for bedtime, a book about adoption.  She stopped, hugged me, and said – “I am so glad you guys are my Mom and Dad.  You give me so much joy.”   Well, ditto.

The book goes like this:

We belong together because you needed a home

and I had one to share.

Now we are a family.

We belong together because you  needed someone to help you grow healthy and strong,

and I had help to give.

Now we can grow up together.

We belong together because you needed someone to kiss your boo-boos

and we had kisses to give.

Now we can all hold hands.

We belong together because you needed a friend

and I knew where to find one.

we all needed someone to play catch with.

We belong together because you wanted to learn

and we had lots to teach you.

Now we can discover new places together.

We belong together because you needed someone to read to you

and we had stories to share.

Now, we all have someone to make us laugh.

We belong together because you needed someone to say “I love you”

and we had love to give.

Now, we all have someone to kiss good night.

To make this post slightly less cheesy, Alyssa blurts out at the kissing part – “You don’t really kiss boo boos.  You would probably tell me to chop off my finger.  Kissing isn’t really your thing.”  #truth

joy

“Gotcha Day” is selfish.

We just celebrated our one year “familyversary!”  I was so looking forward to celebrating with the kids.  A lot of people call this day “gotcha day.”  I remember reading a blog by an adoptee before we adopted explaining that it was offensive language.  I didn’t really understand it, to be honest, but I really do try my best to avoid offending others when I speak.  It’s a work in progress.  Anyway, being the politically correct person I am, I felt like I was doing the right think by naming it something else.  Forever family day?  Adoption day?  Familyversary?   We are doing this soooo right!  Well…I excitedly announced the morning of September 25th that it’s forever family day!  Yay!  It was met with “cool!”  And then the behaviors started, and I was reminded that no matter what you call it, it HURTS for them.  There is just so. much.  loss. wrapped up in adoption.  To celebrate the day is to celebrate their pain, their trauma, the loss of their first family (and the next and the next and the next), the loss of their belongings (again and again and again), and the loss of everything they ever knew.  Well it’s true that adoption day marks the beginning of a new chapter, it also officially closes another one.  And regardless of how happy we all are about the new chapter (or how angry I often feel about the first one), it’s pretty darn sad.  And that’s okay.  From now on, I will celebrate our forever family the other 364 days of the year with them.  On adoption day, I will just hold them and love them and grieve with them.  I’ve “gotcha” now.