I sat at the red light waiting patiently and the sign caught my eye. “Tour of Homes”… an event most of our towns have during the holidays, and I imagined for a moment what those homes might be like. I pictured myself going with friends — something the mom with just one or two little loves would have done many years ago — and I imagined coming home with a notebook of ideas tucked away in my mind to spruce up our own home for the holidays. Fa-la-la-la-la… I could almost here the holiday bells ringing and the temptation to decorate before Thanksgiving was near.
Something within me was stirred remembering what life was like before adoption — because truthfully, for us many things changed for us as people, as parents, as friends and with family. Our children from hard places required much more of us than we imagined at first, and as our hearts were over the moon in love it was easy to fill every waking moment with anything we could think of to help them adjust and grow.
“Tour of Homes”… hmmm. Something within me wanted to just go. To step out of reality and absorb myself with coordinating themed trees and Southern Living holiday style that – y’all — I used to have time to pull off. Okay — not to that degree — but I used to actually have time to shop for decorations. Now you can find me with my hot-glue gun putting them all back together.
“Tour of Homes”… hmmm — who might want to go with me? I realized even in that thought how much of our community changes as we gravitate to moms in our same boat.
I was also struck in that moment with the realization that many of us adoption moms not only enter in with attachment once our children come home, but we often live there for many, many years. Either with spouses that travel, balancing needs of older children, fitting in therapies and doctor visits — slowly our worlds change from what they used to be — and we fill our down time watching attachment videos, reading sensory studies and trying to connect dots in the minds and hearts of our children in whatever way we can.
We find it increasingly hard to get away and – with children with special needs – finding a caregiver equipped to babysit or allow us respite makes the sitter list dwindle.
Before long, you realize days turned into weeks and weeks into years — and you find yourself sitting at that red-light with an invitation to do something the mom who “had it all together” would have done many—many—many ago. In that moment, a rush of feelings floods you… happy, sad, mad, lonely, displaced… and you think about it all the way home — determined to bring back some of the old you and call some of your friends to go with you on the next “Tour of Homes” down town. Clearly this is what you need and will be the beginning of bringing the old you back!
Because now — years later — you are in new place with your children. So many therapies. So many doctors appointments. But more than that — so many years of sitting hand in hand looking into the eyes of your children building connection together. Ahhhhh… thinking about even this — you realize now life is easier and you are more in your groove.
You pull up in your driveway to see the yard full.
Diagnosis beat – a child they said might never walk runs and kicks the ball scoring past your other child.
Power wheels fly right past you — and socks. Dag-nabit! Once again that child is just wearing socks now stained with Georgia clay. And you stand there thanking Jesus that socks stained with clay is even now something on your radar with him.
Another child realizes you are home and races embracing his arms around your legs, “Mommy! You are home! I missed you so much!”
A much welcomed trip from Trader Joes, indeed!
You shake your head trying to remember what you were about to tell your husband as he rocks on the porch with his paper clearly not watching the children that once needed so much help.
Oh yeah. Tour of Homes. I was going to tell him I wanted to go to that, and I’d need him to hold down the fort. Only — I realize the old me — is no longer me.
I shake my head and laugh.
Because I realize that everything my heart could want in a home – is right here.
Of course it’s okay to do the things I used to do. Surely I need time for myself because respite is so important. And if you aren’t getting that right now I encourage you to, by all means, make taking care of you a priority.
But also realize this — your children will change you.
And like the Velveteen rabbit, it doesn’t happen over night. It happens bit by bit. Like that Velveteen rabbit, you’ll feel your children rub a lot of beautiful fur off. But like that story — they also make you more real.
And I’m realizing as my children have grown, changed, adapted, heal and have begun to thrive in our family — God has used my children to do the very same thing in me.
May you, too, realize more and more who the Lord is shaping you to be through the healing and hearts of your children. We stand with you and for you — you, my sweet mommas, are not alone. May you be filled with strength and joy as you follow Him on this most beautiful journey.