Monday, March 4, 2013

Damned if you do...

It is so hard for me when people assume that the kids have been home for 8 months now, and they look awfully darn cute, and their English has really come along, so we must all be adjusted and just enjoying ourselves so much.  It makes me want to tell them about how often we get calls and emails from the school about Oak's behavior, and about how irrationally angry I get at Linden over really weird things, and about how concerned I remain about FAS spectrum issues, and how many times a week some combination of us visits our therapist, and how the only reason I'm not on medication is because I'm too ashamed to tell my doctor how enraged I get, and how we just passed the two year anniversary of their sister's death and...

Then there are the people who say, "Oh, that is so KIND of you, you guys are so WONDERFUL for doing this for those poor kids," and I snap back something about how lucky we are to have them, how they created our family for us.

The other night I got something about how sometimes misfortune turns into good fortune.  I was so creeped out by the notion that the happiness (yes, despite the truth of the first paragraph, there is much joy) of having these kids in our family is worth the misery that they and their first family went through that I just drifted away from the person talking before they were done.  It was a large party. I don't think it was all that obvoius.  Actually, I don't really care.

Basically, I don't want anyone to say anything about it.  But if you act like the parenting we're doing is exactly the same as the parenting you do for your bio kids, that annoys me too.

I think these are the things people have said that felt right:

My mother-in-law, whom the kids mooned and threw apples at the first time they met, said, "I've been thinking a lot, and I think my job is just to love all of you without worrying about trying to change anything."

My sister, who has talked a lot to my other sister, who dropped out of our family for a decade after adopting a domestic sibling group, said, "Parenting is the hardest job anyone does, and you are doing it under especially difficult circumstances.  Stop judging yourself.  You're doing fine."

My third sister called me the day after Christmas and said, "It seemed like you were kind of stressed about the kids yesterday.  They were delightful.  I just want you to know that we all see how great they are, even though we know you guys have a lot to deal with."

I guess if you're not family, you're best off just hitting "like" on our facebook photos and leaving it at that.


  1. I have the same mixed emotions all the time. On the one hand I don't want anyone pitying our kids, or pitying us, or acting like we are anything but a regular family. But just as soon as they act like parenting is the same I'm equally (maybe even more) annoyed. And I'll bet it runs the same amongst adoptive families who adopt under different circumstances...kind of like the pain olympics in infertility (been there, done that). I think your family has said it best: parenting is HARD (harder than I ever imagined) and sometimes we are so hard on ourselves it just makes it harder. A good friend (non adoptive mom but mom to a medically fragile child kid so she has her own difficulties of which I cannot fathom) told me that there are a million different ways to feel like a failure as a parent and that was why she was grateful she had her job to go to a few times per week--a place she could succeed pretty easily. Boy was she right.

    It's all tough, but it's all beautiful sometimes too.

    Anyway...I added zip. Just rambled. Have a good weekend!

  2. Yes. You said this so well. It's so hard to even know how much to share with others because I don't want pity...not at all. But I also get annoyed at the "that's just regular kid behavior" that I get when I share any of our little struggles. I love that you have heard positive things from family members, though. I really do. Having the right kind of support from them is HUGE.