In the eleventh of our series we present the, until now, secret thoughts of an adoptive mom of three kids. This time, our struggling mom faces her own feelings of loss over the life she had before the second adoption--a loss she feels is often not properly acknowledged.
I feel like such an idiot; I think I'm finally getting what the problem is. Or, should I say, what "my" problem is. You would think that will all the reading I did before the kids came home I would be a little more aware. Apparently not.
The other day, I was emailing Roz (our behaviourist) with updates on how the behaviour modifications were progressing. I was whining and sniveling to her about how hard this is, and how it seems I'm not making any progress, and when will it get easier, and how nothing I do seems to be right. She emailed me back that evening; it really got me thinking about me.
Roz said that when we first met she felt I was "an intelligent, funny, and confident parent." Now she feels I've lost every bit of self-esteem and confidence in my parenting, and I have especially lost confidence in myself. Roz asked me, "What happened to the woman I first met? You have to find her and bring her back. Her kids need her!"
So, after having yet another good cry (you'd think I'd have run out of tears by now), I really started thinking about what she said and what I had to do about it. Yet again, it's me who has to change. (that part is getting a bit repetitive, don't you think?)
And that's when it hit me. Lynn may be suffering from grief and loss, but it's not about her. It's also me who's suffering from grief and loss. And it's none of the predictable issues around infertility or the loss of not giving birth to my kids. I finally realized what is bothering me the most is the loss of what I had before Grant and Lynn came along.
When it was just Emily, it was easy. I could focus solely on her, and she was developing typically. Now, I have two more children with lots of issues, and all the parenting that worked with Emily isn't working with Lynn and Grant. I cried and cried for the loss of what i had with Emily, and for what she is going through now.
Adding more kids to the family seemed like a great idea and, although these two came with different issues, I was sure that after being in our home a few months we would all live happily ever after. What a fool I was! I must have through that no matter what all those books said about toddler and older child adoption, this adoption was going to be different. But, of course, I've never acknowledged that until now.
And now that it's hitting me right in the face, I have to deal with it. I'm not sure just yet how I will deal with all of this, but I feel a huge burden being lifted from me now that I've identified the grief and loss for what it is.
Why is it that most books on attachment and older child adoption barely mention the grief and loss for the parents? Are we just supposed to be perfect Stepford Wives who can put their emotions on a shelf until there's a convenient time to deal with them? Or not deal with it at all? Am I the only mom who has felt this way?
I doubt it.