Adoptive Mom

Disclaimer: This blog is not a dramatic cry for help for myself personally – I’m okay. This is written on behalf of all adoptive moms going through tough seasons. It certainly does not apply to every adopted child and adopted mom or every season. My only goal is to help other adoptive mothers in the thick of it not feel so alone, and moreso, to help their friends get one step closer to caring for them. I have many friends who have adopted and need support from those closest to them, and we don’t know how to tell you that. This blog is my attempt to raise their voices (not just mine). This is OUR cry for help.

We know the reasons they hate us.

They were abandoned. They were abused. They were lied to. They weren’t fed. They weren’t loved.

They were thrown away like a piece of trash. Over and over again.

They have EVERY. FRICKIN. REASON to hate us – to not trust us.

We have all the empathy and understanding in the world for their trauma and pain. More than anyone else in their life, we care.

So the first signs of hate and distrust we shoulder just fine. We give them a gentle smile back with empathy in our eyes and remind them for the 100th time:

“I’m not going anywhere.”
“I’m not like the other families.”
“You are loved and safe.”
“Nothing you can do will make you not my child.”

We let their pain hit us like a soft breeze – it goes right past us. We can take on anything for our baby. We will shoulder the world for them. We will fight every monster for them to know they are safe. They are loved.

After all, we “get it.” We see the root. It’s not us they hate – it’s their birth moms – their abandonment – it’s themselves.

Then it happens again.

And again.

And again.

And they get older.

The attitude gets worse. The lying gets more costly. The threats escalate.

The hate grows wings.

But we keep shouldering it.

For the 100,000th time, we remind them:

“I’m not going anywhere.”
“I’m not like the other families.”
“You are loved and safe.”
“Nothing you can do will make you not my child.”

But eventually, it lays us flat on our backs again, in bed wishing we could sleep for days in a row in a silent house with no one to disrupt our moment of peace – our own sense of safety.

Today, I’m in bed.

Let me back up…

I’ve always wanted to adopt

Ever since I was ten and my dad adopted me after he married my mom – adoption has always been my number one plan. When I was still in college, I started meeting with a few adoptive mothers to learn more about their experiences.

I was fortunate enough to find women who were honest with me – about the good, the bad, the ugly.

But can I confess something? By the end of meeting with all three of these women, I judged them. Badly.

I chose to take the good they told me and hold it in my heart, letting it bloom with hope until the day I could adopt. Then I secretly blamed THEM for the bad.

I accused HER – the adoptive mom. My head shook empathetically as if I understood her pain as she told me how hard it was to mother her child. I could tell that’s what all three of them desperately wanted – someone to hear and understand them.

But then I looked at her beautiful child. I babysat her child. I played basketball with her child. My heart jumped out of my chest when I saw her child smile. How could she feel this way about this God-sent gift?

Yes, he punched a hole in the wall. Sure, he peed all over the house on purpose. Okay, so he spits in her face sometimes. He lies…that’s normal. I get it – he says he hates her all the time.

But, did she understand the abuse he went through in the past? Was she being patient with him at all?

Now that it was getting a little challenging, her true colors were showing.

I prayed that God would change her heart.

If only then I could feel the weight of what those women were carrying.

A weight that no blog can convey.

A weight no friend can understand.

Heck, a weight no husband can fully grasp.

And certainly, a weight no college girl with romanticized dreams of adoption could comprehend.

Here’s the truth that I now understand:

Adoption is beautiful.

Adoption is hell.

To the women I judged, I’m so sorry. I get it now. I’m with you now.

You Don’t Get it – And We Need You.

Unless you’re an adoptive mother, you probably don’t get it. And that’s okay. We get used to the fact that you don’t – that many of you will judge us when you hear us tell you we are struggling with our child. More of you will think your experience with your biological child is the same, and we’re just weaker.

If that’s you, you can move on. This blog isn’t for you.

I’m talking to a group that I’m not sure even exists. I’m talking to non-adoptive women and men that want to hear us, who understand that they can’t fully understand us but want to believe us. I am looking for friends who trust us and who want to care for us.

If you’re out there, this blog is for you. We need you.

So, If You Do Want to Hear…

This is what we feel. And this is what we need:

We are lonely.
We need friends that show up and choose empathy, even when they don’t get it.
We need you to check in on us.
We need you to understand that our adopted child, whom you love dearly and think is great, isn’t the same child we deal with when you aren’t around sometimes. We need you to TELL us you know that.
We need a friend.

We are tired.
We need a break from talking about our kids.
We need a random dinner sent to us when things are hard.
We need you to ask how you can help.

We are on a different planet than our spouse.
We need a date night.
We need you to become trauma-informed, so we can have a babysitter now and then, and we need you to offer to do it.
We need your husband to ask our husband to go golfing or get a drink (because our husbands aren’t okay either).

We are depressed.
We need you to hug us and say you love us.
We need you to hug our children and keep loving them, too.

We are losing hope.
We need you to help us in the ways mentioned above so we can remember what hope feels like again.
We need you to pray for us. For our children. For our family.

We aren’t okay. Not in some seasons, at least. We just need you to recognize it.

Just being there and loving us gives us a little more hope and energy to help us get up tomorrow and keep telling our babies:

“I’m not going anywhere.”
“I’m not like the other families.”
“You are loved and safe.”
“Nothing you can do will make you not my child.”

Please be better than me. Don’t judge the adoptive mom until you are one.

If you want to care for my child, care for me. They didn’t deserve the cards they were dealt, and now they deserve the best life possible.

Help me love them. Love me, please.

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