Thursday, August 25, 2016

Adoption: Was it a Mistake?

Mistake.jpg

Six months after our sons came home, I began to wonder if I’d made a monumental mistake.

All five of us were miserable.

Was it my fault?

Would our sons have been better off in another family?

Unable to sleep, I tossed and turned wondering if every member of our family was going to continue suffering, reaping the repercussions of my mistake for their entire lives.

I wondered if my error in judgment had ruined us.

But I’m realizing my ignorant, angry, and fearful responses to my children’s pain (as displayed through their behavior) hurt our family more than any one of my children’s behavior ever could.

Every single time I took my child’s behavior personally, I made the wrong choice.

Each time I refused to empathize with the pain behind my child’s behavior, I made the wrong choice.

Each time I allowed my fear to control my responses to my child, rather than letting love lead, I made the wrong choice.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes.

Many of them leading to my family’s distress.

Bringing my children home was not one of them.






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[FYI:  Matt and I make our major decisions together. Yet, this blog is where I share my story.]

27 comments :

  1. "But I’m realizing my ignorant, angry, and fearful responses to my children’s pain (as displayed through their behavior) hurt our family more than any one of my children’s behavior ever could." I know what you mean here. I had to deal with my own wrong responses to my children at times. I'm so thankful that God forgives and makes new. Blessings to you! I'm your neighbor at #SHINEbloghop.

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    1. Thanks, Gayle.

      Learning to respond with empathy can be a challenge. Also a major part of the battle (for me) is getting the self-care I need to lower my stress so I CAN respond patiently and with empathy.

      Thanks for connecting!

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    2. God forgives and makes new! I needed to hear that more than you know. Thank you!

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  2. This YES, exactly this. I relate to this post SO MUCH. Thank you for putting it into words so clearly.

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    1. Thanks, Erin! Let's promise each other if we ever have a clear thought we'll share it. I'm always learning from you.

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  3. I have been going through our pre-adoption required classes and they are quite honestly terrifying me. I keep thinking that I have made the wrong choice, but God spoke to me sooo specifically that I know that I made the right choice. Still, the fear is overwhelming. Thank you for this. I am seeing how my own response to things can affect us all. I keep being reminded to just breathe. Having 3 teens in my house already is taking it's toll on me. These classes have also helped me to see that I am not responding well in my every day with the children I am currently caring for. Breathing deeply today and trying to find my calm self to prepare for all that awaits us. Thank you for this.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Nikki!

      Your pre-adoption classes sound incredible! While I learned a lot in mine, I should have learned more about my responses. It's possible I thought I already had that down. (Clearly, I did not.)

      I would think having three teens IS already a lot. Praying and hoping for you as your prepare.

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  4. So powerful, Nicole! I needed to hear this. This week has been especially tough, and I realized that its partly because I was lacking the empathy I needed to understand my daughter more. Thanks so much for such profound words with us on #shinebloghop

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    1. Thanks, Maria! Hope your week is improving with your daughter. The last few weeks have been tough here and I've wondered what needs to change for me to go on with a positive attitude. At this point, I still have more questions than answers. It's so good to connect with other parents working on empathy (and through our own big feelings).

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  5. So very well put. We question ourselves far too often, but the only way to grow is to see where we do make mistakes and improve on them.

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    1. Thanks, Laura! It is true. I do wish my mistakes had been more sporadic in the beginning. But, I've plenty of opportunity to apologize. That's gotta count for something.

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  6. Sometimes I wonder why God entrusted his care to me, but then I realize if not me, who? He'll be 12 soon, came to us as a foster child at 3 weeks of age. Three years ago, Asperger's entered our lives. I ❤️ my son but some days I really hate Asperger. Thank you for your blog!

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    1. Thanks so much for connecting! I do not have Asperger experience, but I can only imagine how complicated it is to learn to care for your son! I have to remember whatever my child's needs are, I have to be the parent. With various special needs, I have to learn how to fight strategically for my child so all my energy isn't spent fighting for him. He's too precious and I need to focus on enjoying how precious he is and loving him well.

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  7. I appreciate you sharing your honesty. I have had friends go through adoption that have shared the same thing. It's difficult, but so rewarding. *hugs*

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    1. Thanks for connecting, Jessica. I do think it's good for all members of the adoption triad to discuss how different adoption can be from raising biological children. Adoption can be complicated for everyone involved as there is no biological history/connection. Still, I make parenting mistakes with ALL of my children. As their parent, it's my place to do the best I can given whatever needs they have. Best to you!

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  8. Beautiful! And helpful, thank you!

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    1. Thank you for connecting! I'm constantly learning from my online community. Thankful so many wonderful people share their perspectives.

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  9. Beautiful, reflective post. Some of your words resonated with me (ahem... the angry part). Empathy is so important, as is self-reflection. I'm always reflecting on how I can improve as a mom. It's a journey... and we're going to mess up sometimes.

    Big hugs to you.
    xoxo

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    1. You are right, Jennifer. Anger (which is often impatience) is something I struggle with parenting all of my children. For some crazy reason I thought parenting would be less messy.

      Boy was I wrong! I need to learn to expect the mess so I'm more patient when it happens.

      Thanks for connecting!

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  10. What a necessary reminder to keep the focus on the right thing, from the right place (the heart).

    Thank you for this.

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    1. Thank you for connecting over this, Lori.

      Wish I could always keep these thoughts up front.

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  11. This helps. I'm in a bad place at the moment as I have completely lost my empathy and take all of my daughter's behaviours personally. My impatience and my childish responses are driving the vicious cycle ever downwards, and despite all of my nightly promises to be better tomorrow I can't find the strength. Now I worry that my daughter will never forgive me even if I do get better.
    I need inspiration from somewhere x

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    1. We've all been there (or at least I have...many times). Hope you can get predictable breaks. For years I couldn't and my patience was negatively impacted. Now, my spouse tries to leave later for work at least one morning a week so I get a couple hours I desperately need to regulate my own emotions. Also, in my experience, children with the most challenging behaviors are gracious. Apologies go a long way in our family. Best to you!

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  12. I have been there so often, but you are right, making a child part of your family is not a mistake!

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    1. Thanks, Sandra! It's always good to know we aren't alone.

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  13. Totally - many bad choices, none of them related to the decision to adopt our son! This is a great post, thanks for putting what I felt so often (especially in the first year) into words.

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    1. Thanks! I wish I could say this was me only during the first year. It seems I'm a slow learner.

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