I forget, more often than not, how much of a big deal being adopted is.
A lot of that probably has to do with the fact that I am not adopted, nor have I ever known anyone who was. And while I try to be aware of how that feels for my daughter, I realize I am not hyper aware of it. In fact, I look at our life and I think, this is a good life. Compared to my childhood, you’ve got it made, kid.
There is something they have been saying on Manic Ramblings that has really stuck with me the last few weeks, they call comparing your life situation to someone else’s The Pain Olympics. I have no idea if they coined this phrase or if it’s been around forever and I’ve just never heard of it before, but I frequently think about it when it comes to comparing life situations.
My daughter only knows her own life. She doesn’t know my childhood, she doesn’t know any of the struggles I have endured, she doesn’t know the lives of the kids in foster care wishing they were adopted. She only knows her own life. And her life, recently, has been difficult for her emotionally.
I’m going to interrupt myself briefly to just say HOLY HELL, the last few months have been such a whirlwind. There have been major changes and major events that I haven’t had even the tiniest bit of time to write about here. Frankly, with the exception of everything I was preparing myself to emotionally go through, I was expecting for my life to slow down, get a little easier, and run more smoothly with the halving of my kiddos… That has not been the case. It was like these small areas were cleaned out and a bunch of drama jumped in to fill them up.
A few weeks ago, my youngest daughter and I had a big fight. I am a Taurus. I am a redhead. I am the oldest child. I was a single mother for more than ten years. So to say that I am a stubborn control freak is an understatement. I live and die by it. I do not like not getting my way, I do not like being told no, I do not like losing. I am The Mom, that’s it. End of story. So when my youngest daughter decided that she was going to 100% defy me, well I was just not even having that. And since I am physically not capable of forcing her to do anything, we spent about two hours fighting. And while I am all of the things mentioned above, my daughter is a fiery Latina with a strong sense of wanting to be in charge of making her own choices, something that was denied to her for most of her life. So, needless to say, this argument didn’t go well.
It began with me telling her she was going to spend the day at day camp and we needed to get ready to go now, she refused. Maybe it was the refusal or the defiance afterwards, but it made me dig my heels in. It wasn’t long afterwards that the tears began as she resolutely held on to her absolute refusal to comply. There was a period of ugliness here where she went down the road of threatening to call CPS on me (something I don’t think your everyday parent hears as much as parents of a child who has spent time in foster care do), she’d lie to them she said, tell them I was abusing her so she didn’t have to live with me any more. Why did I even adopt her, she asked. She wishes I had never adopted her, she hates me, she continued. Any seasoned parent has spent time being told they are hated but it doesn’t lessen the blow any. Why didn’t I adopt some other kid so she could stay with her real family.
This is where we got down into the nuts and bolts of it. This is where she really showed me her pain in all it furious glory. Why didn’t her real family want her? What was wrong with her? Why did all of her sisters get adopted together (two sets of two sisters, adopted by two different families) while none of them took her? Why couldn’t we adopt one of her siblings so she wouldn’t be alone. If her mom is off of drugs now, why can’t she go live with her? Surely, they would all be able to understand her better than we could, because they are her blood.
Now I can usually hold it together pretty well, but this just plain broke my heart. And all I could do was hug her and cry. And while I could answer all of those questions, it won’t fix any of her pain. There is no right answer for that. And so we cried and I hugged her and told her I loved her. And completely and totally exhausted from the entire ordeal, I let her stay home and I left for work. Once I had pulled myself together enough to, I called The GingerBeard Man and relayed the details of what had went down. And can I just tell you right now how much I love this man? This man who joined my family and embraced all four of these daughters that he didn’t know, this man who chose to be their father even though he had never for one day been a father… What does he say to me in response having heard all of this?
“We can do better.”
It wasn’t the coddling response I admittedly had thought I would get, one where he would tell me I was the best mother who had ever mothered. It was the honest response of someone who loves that little girl. Who saw past the drama, hurt feelings, and charged emotions of the previous few hours and put any defensive notions to rest immediately, deciding instead to focus on the true issue here. The fact that our little girl is hurt and she needs us to help her with that hurt. And we can do better.