I have not posted here since February. I've changed so much since then that this space feels foreign. Am I that girl in the headshot anymore? I should rework the whole site - rebrand, redesign. I could get tangled in waiting until I have the perfect platform and perfect vision of hindsight to say the things I need to say, or I could just let it evolve naturally, sometimes painfully, as I go. I don't know how to catch everybody up other than to share with you some raw thoughts directly from my journal the past few months. I want this blog to be our story as it unfolds - a place to write and breathe and connect again. But, I don't think I can explain where I am currently without showing you a bit about where I've been. So here goes...
I don’t even know where to start other than here at this keyboard. I know I need to write again, force my mind and fingers to form words, but I feel physically numb other than hot tears rolling down my cheeks and tightness in my chest. I went to my first counseling appointment today. Everything’s not fine. I’m not ok. I don’t recognize myself and have a hard time being in the same room as my family sometimes. I don’t know how to not make their every negative emotion my own. I don’t know how to walk away when they follow me. I don’t know how to not be completely thrown off by a great week followed by an epic meltdown. Things are not funny to me like they once were. I can’t seem to just grin or shrug my shoulders.
This adoption case is never-ending. For the second time, I am filing a petition to adopt them. It all seems like a cruel joke and an exercise in futility. It is very difficult to imagine ourselves at the finish line as it's pushed further and further away from us. This has all left me with no reserves. I don’t have the patience a mother might normally have for a tantrum-throwing toddler when the tank is already depleted. I am not the capable mature adult and loving parent everyone thinks I am. I am slowly unravelling from the inside out and desperate for something to give - either the tantrums, or the bathroom issues, or the court dates, or the home visits.
I’m answering questions at preschool about whether or not my daughter can be included in the class picture because of safety and privacy concerns, and which last name they should teach her to write. It's heartbreaking. I obsess over their outfits and hair because at least then we'll all look together on the outside when I don’t feel it on the inside. What is a mom supposed to feel like? It’s been a year. When does this get better?
I will feel surges of pride and disbelief that they are mine, but then I remember that they’re not officially yet, and the flood of anxiety and injustice returns. Birth family visits are hard, because it’s a both a reminder of what everyone has lost and the physical connection and history we’ll never share. We get together with the adoptive families of the girls' siblings. They are a source of support, but it's also complicated - like having a third set of in-laws to navigate.
I desperately want the girls to be mine at the same time as finding it difficult to be in the same car with them, or to hear another word or chewing noise from them. I spent years envying pregnant bellies and baby showers, and now I’m in the supremely unfair position of even envying those in the adoption community who have met, brought home, and finalized adoptions all in half the time we’ve had the girls. Foster care adoption stories either terrify me or make me jealous. I was hoping to be an advocate and a member of this adoption community, but I'm too in it. It's too raw, and I feel I don't fit in. We are more than foster parents but less than adoptive and didn’t plan on any of this.
What lies am I believing right now?
I’m not enough and can’t do this. This will never be over and I’ll never get to adopt them. Nobody understands. I don’t have time to do the things I want to do. This is too much for me. I’ve changed so much and become too much to handle. I cannot stay calm. Everything is out of my control. I have to pretend like I have it all together because I chose this.
It’s the week before J's 3rd birthday, and we have ear infections and broken garage doors, and all of the things. They’ve felt horrible, and I’ve been horrible. When I’m feeling like the worst mom ever, I realize I feel a compulsion to do the things I’m good at all of a sudden. I’m good at shopping, and decorating, making their rooms tidy, and their little corners of the world cute. I order birthday presents and picture them piled up on a new tiny picnic table. I email the art museum about her party and order lollipop sticks for rainbow fruit kabobs. I buy watercolor party favors and order a cake. I do the one thing that I’ve got - the thing in the moment that comes naturally to me when all of the rest of it feels like a struggle. And maybe it’s a superficial thing. I buy them multiple 50% off swimsuits and sandals. I braid their hair and put it in ponytails dripping with curls from yesterday’s twirly buns. I dress them in bright dresses and watch them twirl in circles as I try to remember that I am enough, that what we have here is enough.