Thursday, March 04, 2010

Mindful Monday, Four Days Late

Last week, when I was ready to head for Belize or Costa Rica, (somewhere warm with beaches, I hadn't worked out the details), I kept analyzing where I was emotionally and asking myself, "What happened? What went wrong?"

But the very simple answer is this: Nothing went wrong. It just went.

I do know some things that made it harder. We were matched with Yonas on March 31st, 2009. We waited almost a year to bring him home. We spent the majority of the past year filled with longing for our son, waiting for the time that we could hold him in our arms. It's not that we were unprepared for all the challenges; we took classes, read books. It's just that I imagined that the joy and relief of having him home would trump the challenges. But they didn't. That's a gross feeling, but an emotionally honest one.

I will also confess to thinking that I would be immune to the grip of Post-Adoption Depression. I'd read about it on the forum. I'd read Melissa Faye Greene's piece on Post-Adoption Panic. I had no judgment, only empathy. I just never in a million years thought it would touch me. I was wrong.

I also knew about the food issues that many post-institutionalized children face. But I naively thought that because Yonas had been in care for so long, that because he hadn't experienced the kind of hunger many children coming home from Ethiopia had, that those issues would be minor. I was wrong. Really, really wrong.

I underestimated how much grieving I had left to do for our family of five. I have grieved every change our family has undergone. Every incarnation has brought a what-are-we-doing-what-have-we-done? feeling. I just thought I'd worked through most of it. I was wrong.

In essence, I misread some stuff. I romanticized some stuff (who me??). I thought I was more capable than I was. And here is the kicker: I am not the person I thought I was.

I'm not head over heels in love, I'm not full of patience, I don't have the answers for every challenge Yonas lays down at my feet. And that's incredibly painful.

It's also really okay. I don't have to be more than I am (even though I really wish I could be).
I would love to know that every move I made was bringing us all closer to emotional health and peace. I would love to have a crystal ball that would reflect back to me our shiny, happy, healthy future selves.

When I was in my twenties I wrote on my bedroom wall: "Leap, and the net will appear." There is no crystal ball. But I'm doing everything I can to trust the net will appear.


L said...

It's hard but it's important.

It's not easy but it's worth it.

Don't look ahead at the remaining distance, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you'll get there.

rebekah said...

I'm surprised you know what day it is, much less can count how many since Monday:)

You could be describing me here, just about two years ago, except no food issues for us and no toddler stuff since ours was a little tiny babe. So I seriously feel for you.

I did not voice my thoughts back then and I should have and I'm glad you're getting it out.

Jen said...

I feel like I'm fast forwarding a bit to my own life in 6 months. Not the day-to-day events (those are all our own) but the reflections. We wait for court as I cry at night, grieving for the life I'm leaving behind, the perfect little family of three, with our amazing and brilliant daughter, whose life I will forever change. And, frankly, may change for the worse...who knows how our second child will be, her needs, her attachment, etc. Will I, too, look back and say "what the hell did I screw all that up for?" So...thanks for sharing the insight and cutting yourself a break. We have such high expectations for ourselves. And we need to just sit back and let it be.

MRK said...

I identify with you so much, and I'm not even there yet. I have the family of 4 that is going to be come a family of 6, and I seriously wonder how good I'll be at balancing the needs of 4 kids (and of a marriage), never mind the fact that 2 of the children will be becoming from situations like Yonas' which will bring additional challenges. I know I'm not the person I wish I were. I don't have the patience or flexibility that I wish I had. I know I'm romanticizing things. I know I'm telling myself that the first year will be so hard, but I wonder how much I really BELIEVE that. Your blog helps me to make it more real for myself so that maybe I can be slightly more prepared, but I believe what Lauren said is probably right. It certainly seems like you have so far to go, so try (HA!) living in this moment and getting through each day one at a time.

Cindy said...

Beautiful Post again.

Shannon U. said...

I remember when our daughters were tiny babies and I would call you on the phone and Ava would be screaming in the background the whole time. You were so calm. I thought, "How is she doing this? I would go insane."
You are the most qualified person I have ever met to handle what you have in your lap right now. (Even if handling it means shutting the bedroom door and eating chocolate alone!)
If I were a small troubled tot and got the chance to choose who would be my mom, it would definitely be you - because I know you would help me someday be the best "me" I could ever be.
Love you.

Mama Gringa said...

Leaping along with you. :)

cratewhite said...

this is beautiful, and inspiring, and so human. :) I'm happy for you & your family, and especially Yonas. Like all parents, I'm sure your challenges will be great... but far less great than his would have been, were it not for his new mommy.