When you enter into the world of adoption; it’s a time of excitement and hope. You dream about what the child will be like. How much fun you will have as a family. Exploring the world through that child’s eyes.No matter what route you choose to adopt through, you consider what you can handle. Finances. Personalities. Will the child like the same things that you desire your family to be.
If you are like us, we already had two children. Of course, they were similar to us in many ways. And they also had their own personalities. And… Their own feelings about adoption. We didn’t consider that enough. We hurt our children. They felt like they weren’t enough. We tried to explain that we had always wanted more children. That we had enjoyed them so much that we wanted more.
We went through miscarriages and infertility. These things were very painful for us. I lost a baby between our two. I was able to handle that one the easiest. I had a one-year-old who was still nursing. We hadn’t thought about having another quite that soon. We were on a trip when it happened. Being away from home was hard. But, the whole thing was easier as we understood that the baby couldn’t form. Things didn’t match up for it to develop. We grieved and moved on for the most part. What has stuck with me is the harshness that I faced from my father-in-law. And being abandoned. My husband was upset by what his dad said and he went outside. His mom was concerned about him and followed him out. I was left alone with the man who was so harsh. Did I say yet, that we didn’t have a real solid marriage yet? That has come through many years of communicating. Then, along came our baby girl and all was good. We talked some through the years of having more. And didn’t pursue it.
As I approached 40 and knew that my potential years to have another baby were getting lower, the desire came back. We tried naturally, we went to a fertility expert, we followed the protocol. At this point, we only had had one miscarriage. Well, that changed. I had twins that I miscarried. I had one that had a birth defect that was not compatible with life. And I had a second term miscarriage. This one was the hardest of all for me. I was in what I thought was the safe time and I miscarried at home and saw everything.
That is the backstory to choosing to adopt. We looked at a number of options. As we considered them, we saw how expensive it would be. We choose to foster children to adopt. Our first child was a newborn, Our kids loved him too. They cuddled him. We soon learned that he would be going to a grandmother and great-grandmother. This was a struggle at the time. We didn’t see the sense in him going to someone as old as they both were. Now, being a grandmother, I would take my grandchildren it something happened. And this little boy ended up being adopted by a distant family member.
One of the things that we saw in the foster system was that the children were moved too much. We knew that this was not healthy for them emotionally. It is one thing to move as a whole family unit and another to keep changing parents. Never knowing what the new patterns in that home will be. Many children later, we were able to adopt a brother and sister. We had already had them in our home for quite awhile. We loved them. And we mistook some of their actions and reactions for them having bonded. They hadn’t. We went to many places in our search for help for them. And… We spent a LOT of money. We had to put our children on medications. Then more, changing all the time. And we are in debt with placements that we tried to help our children.
We have had to deal with attorneys as we have tried to keep our home safe. Having our own attorney question us about our parenting skills. Our attorney not telling us that we didn’t have to pay child support (and so we did). We discovered things through the years that we were not capable of handling. Sexuality among the children. One being tortured and threatened to stay quiet. Death threats that we would be killed. Silence guaranteed by the tortured child. A child ending up in two hospitals from the torture. How could a child build trust with us? A child going back into foster care. Accusations made to us about how bad we were as parents. Needing to have the police chief come to our home. He told us that he’d seen these problems in children before. Having the state come to evaluate the safety of our home. Minor changes were made and more alarms were put up. Having to keep the children in sight at all times. To the point of one child needed to sleep in our bedroom at night. Having an evaluation is done that got more personal than was needed into our marriage. What marriage wouldn’t be strained under these circumstances?
Taking the children to different states for therapies, camps, placements. To have a child finally tell the truth and be sent home with a safety plan. To be eventually told, (at the camp), what was happening. Anger that the woman evaluating a child didn’t tell us what was going on. Eventually finding out from her and being told that our child was the worst case she had seen in 30 years of evaluating children. And yet, we kept trying to handle what we couldn’t.
I went to a dark place as the kids were in our home. I was seeing things that weren’t there. I was seeing a shadow beating me and having unexplained bruises on my body. And getting bruises from an out of control child. Injured numerous times. Anxiety growing to the point of having panic attacks. My husband having to talk me through it and getting me to breathe into a paper bag. Sleep becoming harder and harder to come. Making parenting errors as we had no clue how to handle what our home had become.
We tried giving a lot of love. One child acted up after being held. The other (the baby) couldn’t be rocked to sleep. The baby would bang the head and feet to go to sleep. It was painful as a mommy to watch this. Not being able to comfort the children. These children took love and manipulated it. Accepting that we were failing with them. The pain I as the mom felt. The discord in our marriage as my husband didn’t see what was really going on. Painful realizations about ourselves that we had to go through. Each individually. The sadness that I felt when my 5-year-old child finally fell asleep in my arms for the first time. In a restaurant. Because medication had already been given. In the pain of it all, I soaked up the chance to have my child sleep in my arms.
What was really going on with our children? Reactive Attachment Disorder. The child doesn’t want to attach. They learned as infants that they couldn’t trust their parents. And that meant we couldn’t be trusted either. Another grieving process.Trying to provide the best we can find for healing in the child. Watching as your child moves from placement to placement as they become too difficult to manage. The realization that you are not enough. Saying goodbye in the ways that are allowed. The only hope that you hold is that someday the child will see that God is enough. And acceptance while in the pain that HE IS ENOUGH!!