Thursday, January 12, 2017

Adoption: This Mom Six Years Later

Last weekend I went to my favorite hardware store all by myself- which is no small thing. While making my order I noticed that each time I gave the man behind the counter a color name, he immediately jotted down the coordinating paint number.

Without thinking about it, I commented on how impressive that was to me.

He smiled and humbly attempted to explain how memorizing 3500 paint numbers is really no big deal.

The interaction was natural. I used complete sentences. And the Benjamin Moore expert didn’t even think I was busting a move on him!

I returned to my van beaming like an idiot and thinking, “That was the regular me back there.”

For six years, I’ve been looking at a stranger in the mirror. I’ve felt crushed and, much of the time, debilitated by the constant pressure of getting to know my children so I can learn how to love them well. Under this stress, I’ve neglected many of my most basic values, such as;  cooking, showering, and remembering to eat. My worries have been choking me to the point where I’ve had trouble interacting with the world around me. My listening skills have been severely impacted and, at times, my concerns have been shouting at me so loudly, they’ve drowned out friends I’m trying to be present with. I’ve even rudely interrupted friends sharing their deepest feelings without being aware until a week later (at which point my face has flushed with shame and I haven’t known what to do with myself). I’ve gone from feeling as energetic as I was as an eighteen-year-old to feeling lethargic and elderly. During these years, not only have I consistently misread social cues, I’ve also sent unintended messages via my erratic behavior.

Eventually, I learned the best way I could function was to avoid every human interaction I could avoid. Otherwise I knew I would unintentionally hurt somebody or be wounded myself.

A few years ago, one of my sons was regressing significantly in his classroom, but when we did work together at home, he was making natural progress. There was no comparison between his school work and homework.

Since I was confused about his performance, I called a professional- a friend of mine who is brilliant and has a special education background. Her main point will always stick with me:  A child with a trauma history can look brilliant when relaxed and simple-minded when experiencing stress.

Sadly, it took a few more years before my head was clear enough to figure out who was the most stressed out person in our house:  me.  I have been the one appearing dimwitted.

Today, I know better how to love my four children and my husband in the context of our unusual family than I did over the last few years. As a result, I’m less stressed and I feel more like myself.

So, as mundane as it seems, my hardware store story is something I’m celebrating.

And I’m looking forward to recognizing myself again real soon.

Today is Introduction Day at the Adoption Talk Link Up. You can learn more about why I blog here and about the name of my blog here. I’ll look forward to connecting with you and hope you take the time to introduce yourself!


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