The 27th day of the month.
It is the day I am supposed to post. Stefanie may fire me if I don’t. 🙂
Seriously I have so much I want to say and yet I can’t find the words, and even more I am so not ready to share so much. I know those who may read this and really know me are saying this is probably a good thing! I am emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausted. Our family as a whole is exhausted and I don’t doubt our new sons are exhausted as well.
It has been 36 days since we met our two newest sons in China. In life, 36 days is a SHORT time. And yet, it has seemed like a L-O-N-G 36 days to me … from where I’m sitting … at least for the moment.
I was telling my mother-in-law just this morning that one of the hardest things I’m struggling with now is the loneliness, the isolation and quite frankly feeling completely overwhelmed. It is not even the doctor’s appointments (we’ve had 10 already since home), and we have 5 more scheduled and need to schedule at least 2 more DIFFERENT specialist appointments for one child and 1 more specialist appointment for another. It is so much more though … the unexpected issues (not blindsided mind you but hopeful they wouldn’t surface … and yet they have), the inability to communicate … that one is so minor for some but now we have 2 of 7 family members with expressive communication difficulty and 2 with receptive struggles (one of whom I’m certain is temporary; the other I’m just not sure yet)s. And so a Momma’s heart must adjust.
When well-meaning people say “how are you doing?” … I don’t want to answer honestly because this is VERY HARD WORK right now. And I have been vulnerable and shared before and been told, “Well what did you expect?” While this may seem obvious, it is certainly not supportive. I guess an “I’m sorry you are having a hard time” would feel so much better. But maybe they are right. I just don’t know.
I do have a few faithful friends who call me to check on me and support with their whole heart. Our family is supportive, some more than others. It is hard to ask for help though … at least for me. And it is hard to read about others and wonder “is it really that easy for them?” and “why is it always hard for us?” and “how could this time be harder than the last … we aren’t facing heart surgery soon that we know of at least …”. And then I realize many of us put on a facade and share what we want to, we don’t open ourselves up, it is the blogosphere after all and by and large many of us are talking about our children. We want to brag on them and share fun family photos.
We who feel called to advocate for waiting children certainly don’t want to paint a picture that would DISCOURAGE anyone from adopting a waiting child.
I am not blogging on my family blog for now. I know I’ll be back. I just don’t know when. I had to get away from it and take a break. I don’t have much to share that is encouraging. And so I just don’t want to share it. I have several blog friends who are paperchasing and/or waiting to travel to their children, many of them older. I am also greatly saddened and deeply disturbed by what I see as a RISING trend in disruptions in China. It makes my heart sick.
I don’t honestly know where I fit into all of that. I feel at this point someone needs to be a voice for the children, which does not have to mean I am unsupportive of families who choose not parent a child in China. On the other side, when a child’s adoption is disrupted … a child’s life IS affected. And to me it is time to talk about it, but my feelings are too raw and emotional on this topic.
I want to just share though that even if the best-case scenario presents to you in China, the worst-case scenarios may in fact play out once you are home. I think we faced a rather worst-case scenario on our last trip because our daughter was so ill and we faced so much uncertainty about the days ahead. After we came home quite honestly many best-case scenarios have come to pass.
On our recent trip, we had some best-case scenarios and some times where we had to refocus our expectations. Nothing completely unexpected and yet some things we hoped would be better than they are. We are thus refocusing and moving forward with hope in our hearts and a resolve to do the hard work needed. And right now, we are facing head-on some worst-case scenarios. I won’t go into details but honestly it doesn’t matter for the purposes of this piece. What does matter is that adoptive parents MUST be prepared to face some really TOUGH days in China AND once home.
I have yet to see a rainbow and fluffy clouds beneath a sun-drenched sky since we came home on July 2, but I know those days are ahead. And when the moments of joy and compromise and selflessness and happiness abound, I will relish those MOMENTS even if the days are long.
Please consider not homeschooling your kids with expressive communication needs. My daughter is a sweetheart who has classic autism and I can tell you that if I homeschooled, I would be committed in no time at all!! Please reach out to your school system for help; they have been a tremendous help for my daughter. It truly takes a village to help a SN's child reach their full God given potential; don't try to do it all on your own. It's just too much for anyone. You will be busy enough advocating for them, trust me! No one will think less of you for realizing that you need to utilize all resources available to you to best parent your children.
Second, have the grandparents watch your kids for a couple of hours and go to dinner out with your husband, have a glass of wine, talk, cry. You will feel better, promise..been there.
Again, email me if you'd like to talk more. Parenting a child with severe special needs is a tough road at times but I promise you this; the breathtakingly beautiful moments and a love like you've never known do await you!!
Thank you Kristi for your great advice!
We do have some scheduled dates planned soon for the Prez and I, and grandparents watching various children. We absolutely are doing our best to take advantage of public services through our schools. Our DD just started speech therapy but it is once weekly with 2 other children and she "does not qualify for summer services even though her articulation is at 5% of intelligible for her age." *scratching head here but what can you do* The therapist also admittedly has NO experience with a cleft-affected child repaired later than one year, so we must seek private help as well. I have no plans to do it all on my own, believe me. Li'l Dude, our new 5YO, can't even be evaluated until school starts back, but believe me I have the papers in the mail. 🙂
You do need time out…Push the school for little miss. We had to and our daughter now gets three days a weeks solo. She had her cleft repaired at two and ours also has NO experience with a cleft affected child. I totally understand the loneliness and isolation…
On another note peolpe do need to hear the truth, event he not so good stuff. Education is key and going in with rose colored glasses is never a good thing…hang in there. Prayers to you and your family.
After that dinner out with your husband, consider inviting your church family over for a pot-luck dinner (your family could provide the meat)!! This way, you would get a lot of food (a break from cooking with lots of yummy leftovers!), your church family (who likely think your family wants privacy) would get to meet your new sons, and all of your kids would be in the comfort of their home.
Hang in there. Hugs to you! 🙂
I love that you shared this in such a vulnerable way. God wants us to advocate, yes, but He also always wants us to share the truth. And the truth is that any adoption comes with challenges, and special needs add another layer to that. God challenges some of us with that extra layer, but not all of us. Obedience to Him is the key… and it is what will see you through these challenges.
Bless you for sharing, even the hard parts. We just returned in February with our youngest son who is now 2 1/2. Boy have we had tough days! Yikes! Hair-raising days! But boy have we had beautiful days too. Those are beginning to happen more frequently than the bad days. It is so hard to explain to others – yet it happens!
Janet and gang
And they WILL come.. thankfully we know that to be true!! God knows the weight you carry and He is walking alongside you, just lean into Him!!
Adopting two at one time must be incredibly challenging and then add the fact that they are both beyond the toddler stage, with probably strong opinions and feelings of their own, I can just imagine all the tough times you are facing!
Please know that we are cheering for you! And can't wait to be here when you share about those sunny days that are most assuredly ahead… in His timing 🙂