I have an enemy and he has declared war. I have been in the trenches and the past few days the battle has left me worn and weary. It has been constant and, it seems, from every direction. I know the Lord is good and He has sent encouragement and support when I desperately needed it. The past few weeks, the battle has landed in the heart of my family. It struck right where it hurts. For whatever reason, all of the post-adoption “issues” have reared their ugly heads and come crashing in this week. I can’t help but think this is preparation for what lies ahead…
Life after adoption…much has been written about it and by WAY better moms than me. But for the sake of my sanity, I need a place to dump all of this. Life after adoption is not all sweet pictures, smiles and the world made right. It is not always love at first sight or even love in the first year. It can be so hard. Afterall, adoption is born out of loss. This loss is so deep and wide that I feel like we could all drown in it at times. It permeates every nook and cranny and colors the world for the child caught in it’s wake. For the past 6 years we have loved and wrestled with this child. It has been an all out battle for his heart. Just when I think we have torn down a wall, he quickly slaps up another, bigger one. There is nothing quite like parenting a child with little or no attachment to you. They have no sense of right or wrong, no ability to have empathy, they lie. They seemingly have no ability to learn from past experience, no desire to please their parents, they push us away and manipulate us to get what they want. The worst has been seeing my child cuddle up to every stranger or extended family member, flash them the sweetest smile and beg for these people to take him home. And worse yet, these people fall for it hook, line and sinker. It’s not personal, we are learning this, but it stings all the same. It is a battle for their hearts, for their future, and it is intense. I am learning that this has brought every weakness I have, every flaw into the light of day and it is ugly. I am not the mom I wanted so desperately to be and I am not enough for my child. I am broken, he is broken and together we are a mess.
I look at my daughter, the tiny girl who tried to claw my eyes out those first few days together. The girl who held so much grief in her little baby body that it broke my heart. I didn’t think she would ever heal and I felt like I had ruined her life. She was loved and cared for by a sweet woman that I’ll never get to know. Her foster mom taught her to trust, taught her what love was and how to form a healthy attachment to her caregiver. I wish I could find her and hug the daylights out of her! That precious woman gave my girl such a gift! I couldn’t possibly appreciate it properly at the time. When I look at my girl and how attached she is to us, I know it is because of the love this woman poured into her life those first two years. Our son did not have this. The alarms should’ve sounded when he clung to me, a complete stranger, when we returned to the government office to sign adoption papers. His familiar caregivers were there and he wanted nothing to do with them. He refused to be put down, I even had to hold him for his visa photo. Instead of alarm, I felt needed. I felt giddy with relief at how smoothly this was going. Stupid girl. Over the next few days and subsequent years, experience would tell me how stupid I was to think that was a good thing. I am learning just how deep this wound goes and experiencing firsthand the destruction that follows.
For the sake of full disclosure, I want you to know what real life is like post-adoption. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it is the best thing I’ve ever done. It is allowing God to reveal my brokenness, to force me to my knees in search of Him. It is knowing that I am not enough, that I am not redeeming anyone, HE IS! It is getting a glimpse of what my Heavenly Father is like and knowing how deeply I need Him. I am broken, I push him away, I lie, I manipulate, I refuse to learn, I am calloused and I run away from Him more than I’d like to admit. But God, he pursues me with an unfailing love. He lays down His life for me. He is the Good Shepherd, the Gate who puts himself between me and danger. He pursues me all of the days of my life because He is love and He loves me. He calls me to abide in Him and He will love this sweet boy through me. I fail, but He never fails.
My sweet, broken boy…how I wish I could’ve been there for you those first years. There to hold you, nurse you, rock you and kiss you. There to sing into your ear when you were restless, kiss your hurt knees, tuck you into a warm bed and there to answer when you cried. I wish I could’ve been there to smile back at you, to clap loudly when you took your first steps and to gush over you like you were the best, cutest and smartest baby ever born. Every kid deserves that. It breaks my heart that some never get that, that MY baby didn’t get that. You are worth the fight, worth the wait and worth every hard day it takes to bring your walls down.