In the spirit of the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books the boys brought along, I decided to write this post. More "Christmasy" stuff later:-)
Thank you all for being a part of this wild ride we are on. I know that even those who disagree with us and how we elect to handle things really care, or you wouldn't be so passionate about it. You have all been so wonderful and encouraging, and being this far from home and away from our "real life" support has helped in ways you can't imagine.
I would like to remind everyone gently though, that this is our life. Because I choose to be as transparent as I can here for the sake of our children reading it some day and leave it open publicly for others to learn what they might from it, does not mean we wish to be the target of others judgment. It is quite easy for others not sitting in our shoes to decide how we should act, what we should say and do...and yet you do not have the emotion invested in this that we do (OK...from some of your posts, maybe some of you DO!!! HAHAHA!) nor the previous 5 years of time, background knowledge and love we have behind us. This is a uniquely wonderful and challenging situation. I daresay that not a single reader has ever found themselves in this exact circumstance with these exact personalities. We are doing the best we can here, folks, under incredibly stressful conditions. Everything is compressed, we do not have the luxury of lots of time to evaluate, we do not have the ability to always know what is right but we do trust our gut instincts and mainly our God to guide us.
Often, God makes no sense, we all know that. Heck, one look at our entire family and we have broken every "adoption rule" out there about birth order and yet somehow it has worked. What on the outside to you all may make no sense at all in how we have worked through our difficulties here makes total and complete sense to us, as it was how we felt guided by God to deal with it. For make no mistake about it, not a single thing we have done here has felt outside the "God Box". I can't keep from grinning here as I write that as our "God Box" must look a bit like a 1960's style hippie school bus, with peace symbols and smiley faces plastered all over the outside and perhaps a little Jefferson Starship blaring from speakers inside! Hahaha!
Notice though, that I am not saying at all that we are doing everything "right", but we are doing what feels right at this place and time. I would never have the arrogance to say that I am 100% certain that our way is the only way, and we know it all. We don't, that is for sure. We ALL make mistakes guys, we all back up, we all need "Do Overs" as I posted about yesterday. To quote Billy Joel "You may be wrong, but you may be right...". Who knows?
And the fact is, we parent differently than many people I know. I don't care, I never signed on to be anyone's "groupie" and follow them unfailingly. We parent in the way we feel is best for our kids, whom most of you don't know and never will know in real life. Those of you who DO know us in real life I am sure are often left shaking your head in dismay at many of our decisions. That's OK, we get stuck with the end results, and you can have the last laugh :-)
This is the single most difficult situation Dominick and I have ever found ourselves in. We've done the best we can. God knows that, we know that, and that is all we can do.
Feel free to comment at will, to email whatever you'd like, but please, please remember our hearts too are tender here. We are raw in so many ways, and what might seem like an innocent comment on an "editorial" is actually a judgment on another human being in very unusual conditions and you are "visiting" our virtual house here. If you wouldn't say it sitting face to face over a Diet Coke at our kitchen table, then perhaps it might be best reworded here. Virtual lives are still real lives behind the screen. This is a family blog where hearts are laid open for all and don't have to be. This is not talk radio or the editorial pages of the New York Times.
You know, one reason we have kept the blog public is because there are plenty of materials, books and trainings out there from the child's perspective but there is almost nothing that is honest, truthful and open about the adoptive parent's perspective. We are the silent part of the triad. We are expected to be "Facilitators of Fairy Tales" who are supposed to bury their emotions for the sake of their child, who are never supposed to have doubts or fears or at the very least should check them at the door, and who should speak of their adoption experiences in only the most glowing terms so as not to discourage other prospective adoptive parents from being fellow "saints". I write that with tongue planted firmly in the hollow of my cheek.
If that is what you are looking for, go to another blog. This is real life. It is messy, it hurts, it sometimes triumphs, it is awkward and lumpy like the really bad pillow Dominick is currently sleeping on. Adoption is a very hard way to form a family. Not bad...but definitely hard. It requires the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon, the passion of John and the the forgiveness of Jesus all rolled up into one "saintly" single or couple who willingly allow others into their lives all so they can be called "mommy" or "daddy".
You know what? It HURTS to be rejected, it makes you ANGRY to see kids who are damaged by others or a system and you have to somehow put the pieces all back together, it is DEPRESSING at moments to think of all that is before you, it takes GUTS to do this and not be terrified sometimes, it is LONELY to have others judge you before you adopt...while you are adopting...and after you adopt, as they think it is somehow OK to say things to you as an adoptive parent that they would never in a million year sdream of saying to a pregnant woman or new parents. It is HARD to find yourself constantly in the position of having to defend every single thing you do, and to also have to do so with a smile on your face so that you don't offend those who mean well and yet have no idea the effect of their words.
This is what adoptive parents face, it is what is almost never, ever talked about openly. There is so much that goes into understanding the child's pain and challenges, but almost nothing that speaks honestly to the adoptive parents. I share here and keep it open, because I wish someone had done it for me. The "happily ever afters" and the "Isn't life wonderful's" are contained within this blog as well, but so is the scary stuff, the middle of the night cold sweat stuff, the "I wish I knew what to do" stuff. That keeps it real, it keeps it honest, it keeps me from appearing to be the "Perfect Mommy" that some think I ought to be.
You know what though?
I'd die for my kids. We spent 5 years trying to get these girls home. We know that love may look differently than we all expect it to look like, sometimes less a Rembrandt and more a kindergartner's fingerpaint messy masterpiece.
Team LaJoy is not a Rembrandt. Please don't expect us to be. We are absolutely the kindergarten artwork...still growing, still learning, colorful and messy and only the very glimmer of what our Team will eventually one day look like. Allow us the mistakes (in your opinion) we have made. Allow us to gingerly test the mixing of colors here until we find the perfect blend to accurately represent us all. For we are not a finished product, not by a long shot.