March 17, 2013
One year ago today, (I could as easily write, “a life time ago”) this beautiful little girl walked into my arms.
In that moment I thought my odyssey in adoption was over. After a nearly year-long wait I could finally breath a sigh of relief.
Of course looking back I see how that moment was only the beginning of the adventure. In fact in THAT moment I still had not truly even met my daughter: the child who would become my daughter would not emerge until many months later.
While we were still in China I wrote about some of the struggles we faced together; but only some. Had I written about all of it I’m not sure I could have made it though those first weeks. Because it was bad, really bad, and denial was the only way I knew to survive.
I’ll admit it here now...now that our relationship is strong and secure and filled with love…that,
while still in China I considered disrupting the adoption.
God forgive me.
Not exactly what you expect to read in the one-year home blog post (I won't go into more detail) but the point is, it was that bad.
Long past the denial…past the exhaustion, past the months of “faking it till I make it”, and past the depression that followed, I am grateful to report I have bonded as strongly and completely with Mia as with each of my other children. And she has bonded equally with me. This adoption, this process of healing and learning to love and trust each other was a hard fought victory for Mia and me. So while this is a story with a happy ending it is not a fairytale.
Hear that adoptive moms….Lori says, adoption is not a fairytale.....better write that one down...Mock surprise followed by group face palm.
THE REAL SURPRISE IS THAT IT TOOK UNTIL THE THIRD ADOPTION FOR ME TO TRULY UNDERSTAND THIS, although in defense of my own naiveté, my first two adoptions were pretty much made for LifeTime TV Adoption Stories.
This last year has stretched me as a mother. It has left me questioning…everything.
Am I a good enough mother?
Do I have the time to give 6 kids?
Is cerebral palsy too much of a special need for me to handle?
Did I ruin my family?
And probably that is the more REAL adoption story. A richer, more nuanced story filled with complexity, fear, doubt and challenges. I know we see lots of the rainbow variety adoption stories in adoptive parent blogs and heck I wrote a bunch of those kind of stories here but it would be unfair and inaccurate for anyone to get the idea that adoption is easy or even always successful.
Adoption is risky: a complex human experience requiring a massive leap of faith that at its best is an imperfect solution and yet...
To cling to what sounds like a cliché…
IT IS WORTH IT.
As we come out of our first year together I am hard pressed to even remember the exact details of our early days (a protective amnesia I am grateful for). Beyond the visceral emotions that still leave their marks I mostly just recall the mind numbing exhaustion.
What I do know and what I focus on today is the little girl who is most definitely my daughter. She is sweet, affectionate, trusting and to this mom perfect in every way.
And for my part I am doing my best to be the mother she deserves and to forgive myself for those moments when I was not.
I will forever be grateful that God put this child in my path and eventually, FOREVER in my heart.
Happy Adoption Day Miss Mia you truly have emerged as my beautiful butterfly.