My life was almost returned to normal. I would have slept better, been freer, able to eat better, clean the house, and find my way back to the normal details of everyday life. But I chose to finish the adoption, to make this girl who was so far from the one portrayed to me, my own daughter.
Nearly every day I have a moment where I look at her and think, “What if I had said no?” And I have to tell you that rationally my life would be so much easier. But since when has love ever been rational? It is a desperate instinct to protect, to nurture, to provide for Ellie, to hold her and hug her. So, instead of wondering why I didn’t say no, I find myself breathless as I thank God for this gift.
This gift, this blessing, is one of the most difficult things I could have ever imagined and it brings with it many tears, many frustrations, and many trials. My life, my world has been rocked and smashed and left in pieces. I have had a vast number of doctors tell me nothing and everything. We know very little of what my daughter is capable of doing in the future. Every single day I am screamed at, clawed at, and spit on and I can barely make it through the day.
I push a “pre-wheelchair” through the stores. I duck my head to avoid eye contact with others as my daughter growls angrily and loudly. I move to avoid the silverware that she throws. I can’t take her to church. We really can’t go anywhere in public very often at this point.
But I love her, I love Ellie. I live for her smiles. Just today, I spent the entire day battling her to use the sign for “more” instead of growling and hissing at me. Head in my hands, I prayed for bedtime to come. I bathed her and as I pulled her out and swung her around she smiled a great big smile and my heart flip flopped. My whole world tilts into focus as I watch her dance with her funny little hop, and with her flapping hands. Ellie makes life make sense.
I tell you all of this so that you understand that my life didn’t become suddenly easier when I agreed to her adoption. It didn’t have a fairy tale ending. I know what hard is. I know it with every ounce of who I am. And I know now that love is a choice and I daily choose to pray for it, to grab onto it, to seek after it with all of my strength.
So I am writing this post as a different woman then the one who wrote you the post I called, When It Isn’t Harmonious. Then I was broken by the dreams that didn’t come true, by the loss of the daughter I thought I would be adopting. Today, I am writing to you with a fire in my heart. I don’t have time to break down any more. The time for mourning is gone. Now, every day I battle for my daughter’s mind and heart. I battle not to lose my own mind, to be more stubborn then she is. I fight for her rights, for mine and for my family.
You may be sitting in a hotel room looking at a child who is nothing that you were told and everything you know within your soul that you cannot handle. You may be looking at a child and knowing that your whole world would have to change, that this will break you. Hear me as I say this. You are right. You will break. You will be broken in this process and life will undeniably change.
But you will find yourself pressing into Christ. You will find Him right beside you and you will hear Him whispering courage itself into your soul. You will find what you were always lacking in Him. And for your faithfulness He will give back to you a changed heart, eyes for what is truly broken in the world and joy, more joy than you can even imagine.
I am not ignorant to the fact that some adoptions are dissolved stateside. I am not ignorant of the fact that sometimes things don’t work, sometimes matches don’t work out. I am also not ignorant of the fact that disruptions are sometimes very, very valid. But what I want you to know is that I know it could have been me and I want you to hear this from someone who almost disrupted. Signing that paper was one the hardest and best choices of my entire life. I have never regretted adopting Ellie, never.
The truth is that I almost disrupted. I almost disrupted my adoption. Ellie almost never became Ellie, she nearly remained Jiahan. My life would have been ten times easier. And yet, I sit here and write to you that I thank God for this. I thank God I did not disrupt my adoption. Ellie is everything to me.
Katie, this is one of the most moving posts I’ve read in a long time. My heart breaks for you in one instant, and soars in the next, because I am so glad that your daughter found you. With the descriptions of her, I remember many children I interacted with, and I remember moments when I told myself that beneath all the pain that was coming out in saddening ways, a child was in there, waiting to feel safe enough to emerge. You got this, girl.
i can soooooooo relate. My little girl who had a minor heart defect is now a child we will likely care for the rest of our lives. Wouldn’t trade her for the world and can relate to every word spoken. We have very similar days feel free to email me if we can be of support to one another. Blessings to you in this journey…
Thank you Kay for passing this along and Katie for speaking your heart. Reading this encourages me to try one more day. Over three years with our now 16 yo daughter who continues to tell me she wants Chinese mom, not American mom. Has no desire to be in our family. Never thought I’d think about disruption and can’t imagine anyone else with MY girl….so I’ll try again today, pray for that breakthrough so many eventually see.
thank you for sharing your heart. I have a son with Down Syndrome and relate to your story. One thing that has helped us is a therapy program called Gemiini.org. Might be worth a try. Keep fighting!
What about those people who DO regret their adoption? (I’m not a troll, by the way, this is a serious question). I would love to hear from someone like that! P.S. Thanks for writing this.
If you adopted a child you do not want to parent, you should make an adoption plan for that child.
Do you have a safe place to talk to people who understand? Feel free to email me if you wish to do so. I’m so sorry that things didn’t work out the way you had hoped. Adoption can be so hard and I don’t know your situation so I feel it would be unwise to Comment more. My heart goes out to you though!