I've read LOTS of adoption blogs, lots of adoption books, done a gazillion web-inars on adoption issues. And lots of them mention a moment when the adoptive parent thinks, "oh no, what have we done?"
Ours happened last Sunday. Thank God I'd read those other blogs/books because as it was happening, I thought to myself, "it's okay, this is just the moment. We'll be fine in the long run."
Amani and I are having a tough time lately. There's something called mother rejection and apparently it's an issue that is most common when a child is adopted as a toddler. The very simplified explanation is that it's when a child rejects his mother as a self-defense mechanism: he's lost every other caregiver he's ever had and they were all women, so why should his mama be any different?
And that Sunday morning, he wanted anything but me. If I picked him up, he started to cry. If I tried to soothe him, he'd cry harder. And if I sat him down on a pillow away from me, he'd settle down. And that scenario is a much more extreme version of the general way he's been reacting to me lately.
It was heartbreaking. The only thing I know how to do is to be a mom and that was the only thing he didn't want. And I cried. A lot. So much that I couldn't pull myself together to go to church. And I'm not a church-skipper. I have to miss church every other Sunday for work and that about kills me. So if I don't show up on a weekend I'm not working, you better bet something's up. In the midst of my meltdown, I thought to myself, "oh no. What have we done???"
My angel of a husband took all three kids to church and let me stay home. I let myself cry for a bit and regrouped. And the moment passed.
I also just read a blog about how we as adoptive parents need to be careful about just how honest we are on our blogs. Honesty is great - it can be really helpful to other adoptive parents or to family/friends so they know how to be supportive. But the last thing I EVER want is for my honesty to someday hurt Amani. I would never want him to read words on this blog that would wound him. Never.
So as I thought about whether to share this experience, I realized that I have had the moment about all my kids. Riley's appearance into our lives rocked our world in a way I was entirely not ready for. And when I was struggling to figure out my relationship to Rob now that I had this crazy needy newborn, I thought to myself, "what have we done???"
And it's no secret that Allyn was a total surprise. When I told Rob I was pregnant, I burst into tears and then started apologizing (I realize it takes two to tango here, but I was just completely thrown off guard that day!). I remembered how hard we had to work on our family after Riley came and I thought, "what have we done???"
So while what Amani is going through is hard, both on him and on me, it helped me greatly to remember that I've had the moment every time we've added a child to our family. And once the moment was over, I've been so blessed by those children I once worried over.
And that moment really has nothing to do with the child. It's just about me. It's me questioning whether I can handle this: can I really be responsible for this little life? Can I do the absolute best by this sweet child? Do I have the strength to give my children everything they need?
But the truth is, I don't. I can't. I pray every morning for patience, grace, mercy, strength, and more patience. And I know God has given these children to me and that He will give me what I need to raise them well.
And my children are my joy. My children and my husband are God's greatest gifts to me for the short time I have on this earth. Amani is a gift, just like Riley and Allyn.
And God only gives good gifts.