God is doing it again. He is running around my faint heart and trying to shore me up. My heart is tired. This is what I've been thinking lately (oh, right, that's the definition of 'blog'). My heart is so tired. I know I've said that before. But really, parenting my girl is the hardest thing I've done in my entire life. Hardest. Thing. Ever.
As I reread this post I realized that it shifts between coherent and that which will make sense probably only to me. lol. This really is a very journal-like post. I think it's dancing on the edges of what I'm comfortable putting on the internet. It might "disappear" in a few days if I decide it's too much.
At our last attachment therapy appointment I had all the scabs ripped
off my heart and then had it stabbed through with hot pokers. Ahhh,
therapy. It seems like our therapy is a pendulum that has Mundane and
Heartbreaking on the ends with quick trips through helpful in the
Why does honesty have to be so painful? Why was Little
Miss placed with us? Our therapist thinks it was a mistake of our social worker and agency to place her with us. She insists that she thinks that we are doing the best possible job given the dynamics of Little Miss, our family situation, our other children and says that we get highest marks as parents. We all acknowledge that we have made huge strides since coming home. But. But. But. We all also acknowledge that we are far from where we want to be, where we should be, where the boys need us to be, where Little Miss needs us to be, where we need our family to be.
How many pieces can a heart break into?
We are committed to Little Miss. We believe that there is hope for our family, but it is far away. My daughter does not have any trauma, delay, or behavior that is out of the ordinary for adoption. She does not have RAD, developmental delays, horrific trauma, medical issue, nothing like that. Everything that we are experiencing is within normal range. Really. (Do you hear me potential adoptive parents? I'm not trying to scare you away, but this could your normal. Are you ready for that?)
So, basically our goal is to move from the bad side of the border of Normal-land across to the good side of the border of Normal-land. It looks so far away. I stand here on my side and shelter my eyes and try to squint across the horizon to see what if I can tell how much farther we have to go, when we will get there, if we will get there. I'm looking for roads, for a path, for a shortcut, for a vehicle to get us there faster. I'm whispering prayers to get us all there safely. I'm straining my eyes and my heart. I am crying. I spend so much time looking and looking that my vision blurs, my heart breaks and all I see is what looks like forever standing in my way.
Troubled children are not new to me. Attachment parenting is not new to me. I sort of want to say that again. I know about attachment parenting and we have attachment parented (can I use the phrase that way?) our sons.
Attachment parenting takes a lot of work. True story. My understanding of attachment parenting and the way that we practiced it translated into: on/off again co-sleeping, high-touch/holding parenting, on-cue breastfeeding for the boys, limited separations, no crying-it-out, and things like that. More than a set of rules, to me, it is a way of parenting that is respectful of your child as a person with likes, dislikes, needs, and personality that belongs solely to the child.
Respect. I dig that. It is hard though. It's always easier to insist upon your own rightness and doing things the way that you want to do them instead of assessing and responding to the vibe that you're getting from another person, especially a child. Children are weird, complicated little beings. They want random and strange things at random and strange times and communicate those wants in random and strange ways. I mean, have you ever KNOWN a child? Weirdos! So, it's hard work, hard work to attachment parent a child. And that's, you know, your "run of the mill" child with a typical story from conception to whatever point of life is currently driving you crazy.
But my Little Miss isn't run of the mill. No way. No how. And maybe if I wasn't an attachment parent it would be easier to parent her. Maybe if I could just tell myself to tell her how to be, how to act, and how to feel then it would be easier. If I just expected her to fall into line, toe the line, walk the line then we wouldn't be having (obvious) problems because I could just force my will, my way on her and she'd have to accept it because I'm big and she's little, I'm the mom, she's the child.
But I can't do that and/or I won't do that. I believe in treating my child(ren) with respect. I believe that her needs are legitimate and that as her parent (remember Jamey, you signed on for this) it is my job to meet those needs as best as I can, every time, and in a way that is meaningful to her. Those are high standards for a child who has a lot of needs, serious needs.
Meeting her needs, every time, in a respectful way is absolutely draining. And it is not time limited. It is not. I want it to be. I absolutely want it to be time limited. If I knew the ETA for when Little Miss would "be attached" then I think I could make my way through each day with a little more grace. But I don't have that. Something about God being God and me being Not I find that he doesn't give me a lot of timelines....
In the adoption world there is a lot of talk about the six month home mark. For a lot of people that is a point where things are grooving, and attachment is flowing, and the love is gooey. When I heard about six months BLM (Before Little Miss) I thought that six months didn't sound like it was too long and we could handle it. Easy.
What the hell did I know, anyway? Not much. Anyway, six months has been a long long time in coming, and we aren't at six months quite yet, but I can tell you that we're not going to have that ooey gooey life is groovy feeling at six months. We don't have an end date. We are looking at forever and honestly it scares me. And the forever that I sees scares me. It is not what I thought, what I planned. I see a life of not being enough for anyone.
Little Miss could have her "special needs" forever. Meeting her needs respectfully might change everything that I thought would happen in my life. It might mean that we don't do things that we had always thought we would do and in some cases it might mean that we will do things that we never thought we would do. It might mean that I will always struggle to meet her needs, the boys' needs, my needs, my husband's needs. I might wonder forever if adopting Little Miss was a selfish act, if not disrupting the adoption is a selfish act. I know what Little Miss is like one on one and I know that if she were the only child in a family or the youngest child then she would be thriving and would have her needs met more thoroughly than she does right now.
And my heart splinters again.
I don't know.
God knows my heart.
I am still learning His, desperately seeking.
He knows that I want my family to be redeemed, unified, and a sign of his glory.
I know that He is mighty to save.
I'm working at being okay with it because really, it's not like BeforeLittleMiss I had something in writing about how my life would turn out. God is not breaking a promise to me and I am not breaking my promise to LittleMiss. Even if it means forever.
My forever is little 'f' forever, but God's is not. God's Forever is a big Forever, capital Forever. I am telling our story honestly, sharing my brokenness, and baring our struggles because I believe that we will have a happy ending (whether that means healing or acceptance) and that we when we are at the end that we will look back and be overwhelmed by the grace of God.
God's promises are beautiful and they last Forever.
Mighty to Save