Refreshing Honesty (Not mine.)

I love. love. love. when bloggers write with refreshing honesty about adoption.

Adoption is wonderful. It has changed me in ways nothing else likely could have. It has taught me so much I never would have learned another way, and most of all, it has enriched my life in ways no man can measure by the presence of a little boy who is an amazing, undeserving gift to our family. To my life.

And, Cooper transitioned beautifully into our family. Textbook. I wouldn't have prayed for it to go this well, because that would have been asking too much.

But, has it been easy? Um.....no.

We're getting to easy. Most days feel easy now.

But, I still remember the "after the airport" phase like it was yesterday. And those days were hard.

What do I mean, "after the airport" you ask?

After the Airport.

Refreshing honesty about something real and difficult.

At least it is refreshing if you've been through it, it was hard, and you wonder if you are the only person who has been through such a wonderful thing and yet thinks it is hard, hard, hard some days.

In particular, this quote from her blog struck a chord with me:

"Trust me when I tell you that although we are all having hilarious moments......and precious moments......…we are still in the thick of hard, exhausting work, so if you ask me if these are the happiest days of my life (which a ton of you have), and my eyes kind of glaze over and I say through a tight-lipped smile like a robot, “Yes. Sure. Of course. This is my dream life”…I am lying. I am lying so you won’t feel uncomfortable when I tell you, “Actually, I haven’t had a shower in three days, I lost my temper with my uncontrollable daughter this morning and had to walk outside, I’m constantly cleaning up pee because uncircumcised tee-tee goes sideways onto walls, and sometimes when my two littles are asleep and we’re downstairs with the original three kids who are so stable and healthy and easy, it creates a nostalgia so intense, I think I might perish. But enough about me. How are you?”

But that would be weird. So I say, “Yes. I am so happy.”
For us, people would say, "Oh, wow. What a seamless adjustment he's made, huh? Just like he was here all along!" 
From about two weeks after we got home, people basically decided Cooper was doing so well that there was no need at all to check in on us. A majority of people stopped asking how he was doing, and almost no one would ask how we were doing. 
When they would ask, I knew they didn't REALLY want to know, so I'd just say, "Yeah, it's been wonderful." 
Not exactly a lie, but not the truth either.
And when she says that being with just her older kids would provoke in her a nostalgia so intense she thought she might perish. Well.......we've been there. 
Let me clarify.....we have NOT experienced the things that this woman has experienced. No....Cooper's transition has been much less dramatic. However, easy is not a word I'd use. 
Neither is "seamless". He still sees the "seam", and that brings our attention to it regularly. Grief and insecurity manifesting themselves in various ways in a family is hard. Hard to deal with. Hard to watch. Hard to be patient with. Hard to process. Just hard- mostly emotionally. The kind of hard that very few people take the time to see.
You tell yourself it will get easier with time, and I think it will. But what I have experienced is that it gets harder before it gets easier. Because somewhere over time, the child becomes YOUR child. 
When something hard is happening to a child, it's hard to watch (or read about), and your heart goes out to them. 
However, when it is YOUR child, the child you have over a period of months fallen head-over-heels, deeply in love with, your heart positively breaks. Watching your beloved child walk through grief and loss and having the courage to get up and face it new every day takes a vast amount of emotional energy. But, when they don't trust you enough to let you in? When they are grieving so hard you think you might get swallowed by it too? When their insecurity about your love for them and/or their place in the family manifests itself in very, very challenging behaviors? When it breaks your heart that they are insecure about your love for them and you wonder if it will always be that way?
It's not easy.
That is life "after the airport". 
I'm so thankful for the refreshing honesty of this woman who had the courage enough to write about it. It made me feel normal.


The Stiffs said...

Thank you Jenna. We are in the thick of it. I read the other blog post before we left for China. I really needed to hear this from you this morning. Exactly how we are still feeling.

tjp said...

This is beautifully written and I can add a hearty "amen." So many of these complicated post-adoption emotions are difficult to articulate, let alone explain to friends and family. Thank you for sharing the honest truth.

WilxFamily said...

Oh my goodness...if that isn't the truth to different degrees.

I still feel like I have a lot of after the airport" moments and it's been 18mo.