sometimes adoption sucks

Sometimes kids are mean.  Sometimes people don’t understand our family.  “Sometimes adoption sucks,” says Alyssa.  Yes.  Sometimes it’s really, really hard.  “But that’s not about you.  And that’s not about me,” she added.  Truth.

I am reminded how much “adoption sucks” by the tears flowing all of our house lately as we prepare to say “see you later” to our foster sons.  It will be so bittersweet – they need to get where they are going.  With this new perspective,  I look back to when our kids came home, and I can so clearly see that we didn’t leave enough space for the grief of losing their foster parents (whether they were great or terrible) and their history.  We were SO excited they were coming home that it was hard to pay close enough attention to their pain.  It’s funny, because I have noticed that the more we “get” that, the more the kids talk to us.  The closer we get.   I used to feel threatened or something by their past.  I was jealous.  I wanted to look forward!  Inadvertently, I think we sent the message that we couldn’t completely hold that space of grief for them.  I like to think we understood this more than the average bears going in give our lines of work, but sometimes you just don’t know what you just don’t know.

A month or so ago, a kiddo was crying.  “I miss my Mom.”  This was quickly corrected to “I mean, my birth Mom.”  It JOLTED me.  That was corrected to protect ME.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  In that deep place of sadness, my own child felt the need to protect me from a silly qualifying word.  I felt terrible.  I vowed to give off a different energy (which sounds weird – but I didn’t honestly say anything about it, I just felt determined to be the protector vs. the protected).  This weekend, I heard – “Mom, I miss my Mom.”  I have four/six kids, and I love them all.  Who is to say we can’t have/love more than one “Mom” or “Dad?”

Jacob, Alyssa, Oakley, and I were on a walk tonight.  One of them randomly said something like, “I love our house!  I really love that we have trees to climb and stuff.”  They asked how we found it, and I told them we looked at a TON of houses, but we looked at each other as soon as we came in this one and said – “This is home!”  Jacob laughed, and said, “that’s funny…I felt the same way.”  So…yes.  Sometimes adoption sucks.  Most of the time it doesn’t.

Safe and cozy.

We are still a family of eight, for another month or two.  And then we will be six again.  For awhile.  Until we say “yes” again someday, despite many reasons to say “no.”  I’m not sure if that will be the day after the boys go or 10 years from now, but I know our paths will cross with the right child(ren) at exactly the time when we all need it most.  The amount of healing we have all done in these last 8 months is hard to even articulate.

I was home with five of the kiddos last night, and Jax and Oakley were goofing around while I put the boys’ pajamas on.  Jax jumped into monkey’s crib, and monkey got a little upset.  “Dat is MY bed.  Dat is my safe and cozy bed.”  It was so adorable and heart-breaking.  I let the meaning of that sink in during bed-time books.  My eyes welled up, as they often do at bedtime these days.  Safe.

We have had a lot of questions about what’s going on, and it’s a tough balance of needing to maintain privacy, needing to get support, and wanting to educate people about the process of foster care.  A generic review – reunification is always the goal of foster care.  Biological families have about 6 months to make positive changes (this can be extended if needed, but timelines are becoming more important).   After a minimum of 6 months, parental rights may be terminated if there is not adequate progress.  This sucks.  At this point, “they” try to find a relative to be a permanent option.  If that can’t happen, foster families are often asked to adopt.  If that can’t happen, families who are already homestudy ready are recruited and selected (the point we were at when I started this blog when we were matched with our forever kids).  At this point, our forever family is complete.  We are grateful to be a stepping stone of their journey.  And also, that part can feel really, really crappy.  Guilt and grief are not strangers right now.

We are food and rules and clothes.  We are healthy food and hugs and diapers.  We are sippy cups and doctors.  We are blankets and comfort.  We are warmth.  We are healing and high fives.   We are love. We are structure.  We are play and adventures and happiness.  We are a safe and cozy bed, but we are not forever.