Adoption is full of happy stories. You can see them plastered on the faces of families as they walk with their new kids through the airport. You cheer as a foster child is placed in a stable home. You rejoice as a child is given an opportunity they wouldn’t have otherwise been afforded.
But behind all the happy stories is real pain. Even the most successful placements are the result of a failed first family. As a privileged white girl who has never known insecurity, I can’t really relate. I don’t know what it’s like to have a mom who can’t take care of me. I don’t know what it’s like to know hunger. I don’t know what it’s like to go through such a loss at a young age.
But my kids do. I would be doing them a disservice if we tried to pretend that our story was only a happy story; if they had no pain. So we talk about their pain. We try to meet each kid where they’re at. Smiles doesn’t like to talk about it. We ask him questions and talk about his story, but he mostly just listens or turns away. Diva, on the other hand, LOVES to talk about her beginnings. And since she has the emotional maturity of an 80 year old, she expresses this beautifully. Today she wrote this all on her own (translated because her writing skills are significantly below her emotional maturity):
It is time to go to America.
I am so not happy
I’m going to miss my family.
When I go to America all the people come to see me.
I miss (my birth mom) very much.
We go to America because I don’t have a good school.
I’m so nervous to see my new family.
I go to my car.
We go to my house.
I think about (my birth mom) still.
I think (my birth mom) misses me.
I miss my old family.
As I read her words I am moved. My heart hurts for her. Adoption is hard. These words are hard. But not because she’s longing for her past life. I’m GLAD she feels comfortable enough to share this with us. I think she’s expressing herself in an incredibly healthy way and hope she continues to do so. These words are hard because why would the sweetest 6 year old have to feel this way? As a parent, you want to fix your kids’ problems- and this is a problem I can’t fix. It’s not fair and I don’t have any answers for her. So when she gets in these moods, we just cuddle and talk and cry together. And I think that’s okay.