Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Friday, April 22, 2011

adoption realism vs. happy fantasy

I've been really, really lucky in our adoptions.  Our kids are attached, happy and discrimating in their affections.  We didn't 'hole up' when the boys came home from Haiti,, but instead tossed them into the reality of our life.  Of course we modified life a bit and Marc took 6 weeks off to stay at home while we smooshed together our new life of 4 kids and 2 parents.  Each of our adoptions, just like our kids have been vastly different, yet each with their own challenges and joys. 

What's bugging me today is that once again I have read a post on a forum I belong to, where the gal is tickled about the adoption they're beginning, but one in which she openly states that her husband has "allowed" her to proceed with the paperwork etc, even though he is still not 100% sold on the idea.  WHAT????  She further stated that they have prayed and fasted and feel their needs are covered by prayer.  Whatever!

Being the shy person I am, I took the chance to share some of my experience in the adoption realm and tried to educate her that it's not a great idea to proceed blithely along with the assumption that dear 'ol hubby will share her passion and fall in love with said new child.  To further complicate matters, they are working with their states DHS.  OMG, scary!!  The kids under DHS care are going to need some serious therapeutic parenting; one where both parents are on board. 

Once again I find myself treading that fine line between scaring the hell out of prospective parents with potential REALITIES and not bustin' their bubble of joy.  I remember with our last adoption, I hated hearing about all the problems that we could face.  But the difference is I had educated myself, prepared and gleaned every shred of knowledge I could from those who had gone before me and didn't merely rely on prayer/fasting.  Don't get me wrong.  I prayed my butt off, but God also gave me a brain that told me to prepare for any eventuality.  I also knew I might have a kid with attachment trauma, but that I would NOT be a mom who could not attach. 

How do I impress upon people who are still in the dreamy-eyed state that not everyone is cut out for adoption?  I know the forum post I replied to pissed off the prospective mom, but it scares the hell out of me for the potential new family member, that the dad is just going along with it.  I failed in this situation to impress the necessity of two parents being gung-ho about it and being so thrilled and happy that no obstacle could over whelm them. 

I have been really, really fortunate to have 4 attached, average kids.  Do I give God some of the credit, of course I do.  I also credit really, really great adoption social workers/advocates who shared the reality that 'could be'.  Life aint always a bowl of cherries.  Sometimes life is like it was here the other day......full of dog poop, stir-crazy kids and assinine comments from freaks in the store that make us roll our eyes at their stupidity.  Somebody help me get thru to this gal how important it is to be in-it-together with her husband.  I'm failing to educate and it's killing me!


Corey said...

Ugh. My personal experience is, you can't tell people NUTHIN. Then they come back when their kids are peeing all over creation or have molested their other kids, or are acting totally RAD-a-lad-a-ding-dong and their marriage is on the rocks and their nerves are shot and THEN they want help.

Seriously, you might as well save your breath. Or call ME. I like listening to you. xoxo

Jamey... said...

Uh, feel free to direct her to my blog. I scare PAP on a daily basis. It's a gift....

Mike and Jennifer said...

I have been following the post you are referring to and I think you have done a great job of educating. Just remember that when someone gives advice, the advice isn't always acted upon immediately. You did your part and put the info out there. It may take some time, but I am sure your words will come back to her when she needs them to. Some times it takes us awhile to absorb and accept the truth.

tomorrowsmemoriesphotography said...

I'm the girl you're talking about...
I really am trying to get educated which is why I came here, like I said I would, after we got back from our Dallas trip.

I do not appreciate some of the untrue things you've said about me on your post.

We have been reading books for 3 weeks straight now and getting ourselves informed.

It is very true that my husband wasn't 100% on board when I wrote my post last week, he was about 99.9% ready to go thru with it. We were not going to mail in the paper work until we were done with our fasting & praying over the adoption.

Today, we (he included) felt a definite "YES!!!" from the Lord.

Normally, I'm not this open on a person's blog whom I don't even know, but it was hurtfully unfair of you to speak about me this way.

Thank you for the helpful information you shared with me.

May the Lord continue to bless your beautiful family.

In Christ,

geralyn said...

Please tell me what I said about you...anonymously....that was untrue????

I hope you and your husband are truthful, honest and bare your soul during your homestudy phase. Sometimes the homestudy person will bring up questions you may never have thought of and it's a time for reflection. Make sure you tell your homestudy person that your husband wasn't 100% on board with the adoption process. That should make for some intersting conversations!

I worry for the older child you want to add to your family. Why, you ask?? Because I don't think you have embraced realism versus fantasy. This child will forever change your family's racial profile, which you need to know, not everyone will think is fantastic. They may bring issues that make you want to run and hide in your closet for days on end, and they might make your existing children angry, resentful, jealous, hostile, etc.

Prayer along isn't going to help you and if the going gets rough, you better be prepared to do it alone. I've heard numerous stories from people who lose their church homes because their kid is disruptive, violent, etc. Then you are left adrift in a sea that none of your friends can understand.

So dear, what did I write that was untrue?

tomorrowsmemoriesphotography said...

Anyone who has read the Homeschool Lounge Adoption post that you commented to me on and then what you wrote here can put 2 & 2 together.
I am not someone who likes controversy, I just felt like I needed to stick up for myself. I will not go thru & point out everything that was taken out of context.

But I do want to clarify that we will be adopting a 2-4 year old, not an older child. And we are already a bi-racial family. I'm hispanic and my husband is white and we go to a church with many different ethnicities. And we will be very open & honest with our Social Worker. Honesty is the policy by which our family stands on.

And just to stand up for Jesus, not that He needs it - prayer is a lot more powerful than you give it credit for. I have seen the Lord do the IMPOSSIBLE many times in my own life as well as in the lives of my loved ones.

I will not be commenting on your blog anymore because like I said earlier, I do not like controversy.

May the Lord bless your family,

geralyn said...

News flash for the adoption newbie: a 2-4 year old is an OLDER CHILD in the adoption world!!!

Nothing was taken out of context and find it interesting that you think it was. But you said I spoke untruths....what were those words of untruth? I think people are often suprised to see their own words displayed in a different venue. Oh, and I was actually being kind to you...anonymously...since I didn't even point out your newbie mistake of referring to your birth children as "Our own."

I wish you the best of luck and that you listen with your brain to the words of wisdom that those of us, who have gone done this path have to share with you so that NOTHING takes you by suprise. Sadly, traumatized kids have lots and lots of suprises to share and interesting ways to show it to you.

Be prepared for kids that were prenatally exposed to drugs and alcohol and of course, the social worker has no way to know this so it remains a mystery to you until the behaviors lead you to seek professional guidance. If this is where your heart is, then please go forward knowing full well you may have a child that resents you and dislikes you. Remember, hope for the best, plan for the worst and love that child NO MATTER WHAT! Best of luck to you as you begin a fabulous journey. It will tug at your heart and change your life forever.

Kristi said...

Oh my goodness Gerayln! You are RIGHT ON! You rock because you care enough about families to say something.

I have some research to back up this idea I have and it has been confirmed in my own home that 2-4 years of age is actually a VERY difficult age to adopt. Adopting anything other than a brand new infant is adopting an older child. I read book for 3 years prior to our adoption and no book no matter how awesome can prepare someone for adoption ESPECIALLY through the foster care system. It is NOT easy. It is NOT is worse. Prayer is awesome but prayer and love alone cannot heal a child's broken heart.

This family, like so many others, will find themselves knee deep in pee and poo soon. Literally. You can only do so much to try and help educate. Some people are just so focused on the delight of adopting and the novelty of it that they just won't listen. It's not that you want to scare away potential adoptive parents it's that you want them to be truly educated and not starry eyed.

The hardest part will be watching how it effects their other children and their marriage. You did what you could now do your best to look away during the train wreck.

waldenbunch said...

I wrote a post for you. Feel free to link wherever you want.