Thursday, April 19, 2012

Finding out I don't know everything, the hard way

I've never told y'all this, but after we finished our home study to adopt Jack the social worker had the gall to tell us that she didn't think we were mentally prepared for International adoption and would not forward on our home study until we read this huge packet of training material.

Until about six months ago I thought that lady was a little high on her power and quite frankly confused.  See in case you don't know me in real life, I'm a really good mom, and we had parented for a whole year! before we began the process to adopt Jack.  You know basically we were experts and really how hard could this whole adoption thing be...ahem.

She was concerned that we didn't have answers for how we would raise him as Korean in an white family, how we would handle his questions about adoption, how we would help him navigate life as someone who is white on the inside, Korean on the outside, and constantly faced with the fact that he is different.

I read her dumb articles, mostly about children from orphanages (didn't apply to me), and children with attachment disorder (definitely didn't apply to me).  We moved forward and without trying I began to become educated on adoption, the orphan crisis, emotional problems adopted children face, what it's like to be an interracial family, and so on.  I read blogs mainly and learned from other's stories the reality of the life I was beginning.

But that is where my education ended, until I began the ultimate school of adoption, the day I met my son.  We came home and I saw that regardless of how much I loved him, his heart was broken on that day I took him from his foster mother.  Part of him was forever lost when I took him from his country, his language, his food, his world.  I was too tired to read the books then, so I prayed and I held him and I cried and we figured it out, it took a long time, but we were okay, or so I thought.

Then one day, my son began to cry and sob over the loss of his foster mother and his country.  He began to ask me daily to go back and see her, to see it.  I had no answers for him, I listen and I prayed but I didn't know how to help him heal.  I finally bought a book and began to read it, I finally understood that this path we're on goes on forever, that the loss he has had to face is not a thing of the past, but a part of who he is.

Today I saw a friend of mine and just dumped on her everything that we've been dealing with lately and she asked me how we've been handling it, and I told her the truth, I have no idea what I am doing.  She too is an adoptive mom and is dealing with many of the same issues, she told me about another book that she highly recommends (it was another one I thought didn't apply to me, I may never learn).  When I left everything in my life was just the same as it was when I walked into that room, but it made me better having a safe person to tell the truth to, someone to tell me that we're normal, and to help me find a way out of this.

I don't want to scare anyone out there out of adopting, no matter how hard it is, it will always be one the best things in my life.  But I do want to scare you a little, scare you enough to stop you from making the same mistakes I've made, to go into this process with more solutions and less pride.  Read the books, join the support group, find the right friends.  Other adoptive families will be your life line, if you don't know anyone else who's family looks like yours, walk up to strangers at the store and ask them to be your friend, if they're like me they will happily, because we've all been there.  Seek out friends of your children's race, bribe them with food, and have them in your home at least once a week, adopt grown up Korean people to go with your little Korean people :).

In the end remember that we are to do what is best for children, we are to read the books, and find the support, and parent them the way they need to be parented (not the way others parent their biological children), but most of all we are to pray.  To come before the Lord and lay it all at his feet and tell him that there is not a thing in the world I can do to fix this mess that is adoption.  Trust Him with the answer, trust Him to make us all better, trust Him that He has already overcome the world and it's problems.  The fact that love covers a multitude of sins is perhaps the sweetest promise to me today.



The two books I am currently reading in this journey are Parenting Your Internationally adopted child and The Connected Child

6 comments:

The Cherrys said...

Great post. We may adopt someday and I appreciate the advice. It seems you are doing a great job. I always enjoy your blog.

Christine said...

Well written Jenny! I always enjoy reading your perspective on adoption. Looking forward to hearing more this Sunday!

Jon and Shelly said...

Thanks for being so honest! Thanks for writing. I'm so thankful for His sovereignty in our lives and families!

Yvonne said...

Seriously, I think we live parallel lives in so many ways. In the last two weeks, 2 of my kids had major, unexpected meltdowns that while they surprised me, something finally clicked - this IS about adoption. Not in a way that means they are broken or damaged, but we are all affected by the events in our lives so it makes a lot of sense that our children, who have had major, major trauma in their lives (despite having loving foster families) and it IS going to affect them, whether they realize it now or not. I am reading more of the Parenting book - it was what I pulled out when I wondered what the heck just happened and it is offering some wonderful insights for me and my husband. But I'm going to get the connected child one too because, as you said, getting information helps.

One thing I would say - our children's hearts were broken before they left their foster parents. They also have lost their birth parents (at least at this point in their lives). That trauma may not be seen but I'm sure it is felt in some way by each of them.

Hugs to you and I so wish we could meet for coffee sometime!!

Walsh Family said...

LOVE how you put this part
"To come before the Lord and lay it all at his feet and tell him that there is not a thing in the world I can do to fix this mess that is adoption. Trust Him with the answer, trust Him to make us all better, trust Him that He has already overcome the world and it's problems. The fact that love covers a multitude of sins is perhaps the sweetest promise to me today."

Thanks for this post. Much love

Anonymous said...

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