A recent post by TongguMomma has really had me thinking A.L.O.T.
Right after I read her post, which I keep going back to just to read the comments, I received a very unexpected piece of mail. As in, snail mail, all the way from the East. Long story short, we had ordered a care package through a well-known service back in early February. We included a SASE in the package that was supposed to be for our waiting son to send a note back to us. I don’t know what happened … something was lost in the translation, he didn’t want to write us (which is completely acceptable and understandable if that is the case), he was never given the SASE and the offer to write us … I don’t know and probably never will.
Interestingly enough, the SASE contained a copy of the document we had sent the care package provider with 8 questions on it — the one that was supposed to be sent back to us by the provider and was supposed to be translated. The questions had been answered, and they had been answered in Chinese … with Mandarin characters … which I nor DH can read AT ALL. I will not go into the details of how I was able to get this translated, but I finally did get a translation thanks to another adoptive parent and her very kind co-worker.
I will admit I had butterflies in my stomach the other day as I opened the email titled “Translation Enclosed.” What would it say?
I immediately scanned down the screen to read the answer to the one question for which I most wanted an answer: “How does [our waiting son] feel about being adopted? Happy, sad, excited, scared?”
I will not share the answer in full, but I will tell you it included the words happy and sad.
And I cried.
I have laid awake many nights thinking about all of the LOSS our waiting son has faced, much of the details I don’t know and probably never will … but some I know enough to feel actual pain in my heart for him because of the details I do know … and yet, I am not him … and I know the pain of the losses has been and will continue to be far greater for him … I don’t think these are losses one can ever truly “get over.”
He is not finished experiencing losses associated with the fact he was abandoned by his first family. He is in a very loving foster family. And he is not going to be staying there … and so that is a loss. A loss I do not think of without tearing up. I have photos of them together. I have words that convey the relationship they share.
And I am crying as I type thinking of that loss, and my part in that.
You may wonder as me, Why can’t he stay?
I can’t answer that.
I wish I could.
If only life were that simple.
Along with so many other questions: why couldn’t he stay with his first family? I know enough to know there must have been and still most likely is much pain from that loss. For both our waiting son and his first family.
As I thought of TongguMomma’s post more in light of what I read on that translated email, I thought of the many comments, which I so appreciated and devoured really. I just don’t know why all of the loss and pain exists in the world (well I do know … because of sin and our fallen state as people) … but I know God does make beauty from ashes … and for some of us, especially our children who were adopted … He TRULY DOES make beauty from ashes … and He heals wounds.
And yet some wounds … leave scars … and they are evidence of the pain endured.
I can see how our son’s losses will never be far from his heart. He is not a baby. He already has a Mama. She is in China, taking care of him now.
I am a stranger to him. Nothing more really. An image perhaps. An ideal maybe. A person who is causing his world, his life as he knows it, to be completely torn apart.
I can call myself Mama to him when we finally meet … but he already has someone in his life to whom he calls out Mama. We’ve sent photos and more photos and still more photos along with letters and some gifts for him and his foster family.
But our gain of a son will come with much loss for him … and his China Mama … and so many others before her.
I am thankful for Sk*ype and email and connections and knowing other adoptive Moms whose older children were adopted through the same SWI. Those connections are PRICELESS to me, not because they are so much about me … but because they are a lifeline to his past and can hopefully remain in his present once he is here … home with his new family.
How will we help him cope with all of the loss, part of which is being brought about by our adopting him? Honestly, right now, I can’t see very far ahead. I know we’ll first and foremost recognize his losses. That HAS TO BE a first step on our parts.
As I see the grief come out still for our daughter, who was living an unimaginable existence in an SWI where she was losing weight daily and dying from heart disease … I realize that no matter how meager one’s existence is … it is that person’s existence. And even losing that existence brings about grief and feelings of loss and pain. Even this loss, her loss of a very meager existence, is VALID.
Thankfully, for our son, his existence is not just being in a place where he is sometimes fed, sometimes clothed and hopefully sheltered. No, his existence is full of love, sacrifice, hope and healing. And as much as it brings me physical pain to think of taking him from that, I know my pain in no way compares to what his pain has been and will be.
Such a gut-wrenching post. I can't even imagine the range of emotions you felt reading over the translation. Thank you for continuing to open your heart and your adoption experiences. May your son find peace with your family.
Very true. There is no way to adopt and NOT have loss involved. For older kids, there is often much more at stake, but even for tiny babies, the loss of a birth mother is more trauma than most of us endure in a lifetime.
But we all know that the foster care system is a temporary situation. These kids can't, for whatever reason, be adopted by their foster parents, and eventually they'll be put back into the orphanage, or worse.
Hang in there… God clearly led you to your son, cling to the knowledge that His plans are for GOOD!
Praying for you as you wrestle with the unanswered questions. We wrestle with them ourselves. Perhaps that's why I still can't bring myself to develop those pictures taken within Darcy's foster home…
But like you, I do believe that He creates beauty from ashes.
Thank you for writing this. THIS is the reality for our 7 yo daughter and for many more of the older sdopted kids than we probably realize. I know it was shocking to me at a heart level when we realized that our daughter was coming from an intact support system. It is something that I have had to struggle with, but she will and is struggling to make sense of it all so much more. In the midst of it though, TM's question of God and Adoption is so interlinked. At times I can clearly see His hand in her life before she came home and at others it is harder to fathom, but I know 100%, as you do, that He was walking alongside her all along. He may not have created the trauma, but He won't leave our kids alone in it.
I'm glad you have had time to begin to process this before he comes home. I think it helps us better prepare even if we don't find the answers to all the questions the first time we ask them.