How I would love to be able to post a glowing report of our first few days home. I really would. I would love to be able to match the joy our friends have shown, their love and enthusiasm.
But I'm struggling. Erik is having a hard time. The girls want to love this brother they have waited for, but he's not making it easy. He's a tantruming, unpredictable mess. And rightly so. But just because he's earned the feelings doesn't mean they are easy to be around. He has major, MAJOR issues regarding food. Every time food is around he loses his shit. This is what happens when a child has experienced a lot of hunger. Or equates food with love. Or isn't fed when hungry, but on a schedule instead. When a child never sees food being prepared and so never has to wait a bit for it to come their way.
In Ethiopia he tantrumed for 45 minutes because we moved his hand out of the way to close a cabinet door.
He will not nap now, it is too terrifying for him.
In short, he's kind of an asshole. An insanely cute, terrified asshole.
In Ethiopia I cried. I cried for many, many reasons that I will begin to detail in the coming weeks. But in part I cried because I couldn't imagine what fresh hell we'd willingly created for ourselves. I cried to Erik. I said things like, "We only have 16 years left. Maybe he'll run away from home when he's 15. We'll start selling San Francisco. That could cut our time to 13 years." I said it through sobbing laughter and I was only partly kidding.
I am better right now, now while he sleeps. But today I had moments of such deep sorrow I couldn't imagine a time where I could ever think of him as any thing less than the biggest mistake of our lives. Did we seriously trade our sweet, well-oiled lives for this new shitty version?
Let me be perfectly clear that it is only because my adoption community assures me we will all be fine in time and that statistics tell me that 65% of adoptive parents experience some form of Post-Adoption Depression (PAD) that I can write this awfulness here. It does not feel good to write this out. It doesn't feel good to know I will probably have to seek professional help. But maybe it will help someone else be prepared. Because if you know me, you know I am nothing if not honest about my emotional life, especially if I think it might help someone else. And because I have to believe that this is our path and it isn't meant to be our undoing.
In adoption circles here's what they say: "Fake it 'til you make it." So today I carried my mess of a boy around all day when all I wanted to do was leave him on the front porch. I pretended to be happy to see him. I smiled giant fake smiles through my panicked crying and raspberried his belly through my tears.
In the middle of the night, when he cries in his sleep, I will wrap my arms around him and tell I'm here. That he's safe. That he's not going anywhere. That I love him. And I will pray like hell that someday soon it will be true.
The Artist’s Journey, #11
1 day ago