No doubt, most of you have seen the precious girl on Facebook talking about the first time she met her adopted parents. She made this cute little symbol over her heart, and talked about how her heart loved her parents the moment she saw them.
It’s extremely cute. And very obvious why that thing went viral. I wanted to scoop her up myself and carry her around on my hip. The skeptical part of me wonders how long this took to capture? Seriously, was mom holding up a white board with words? Or had they practiced? I mean, I like to think we are a funny and cute family, but when I start recording my kids they typically start singing about poop.
She communicated so clearly, and it seemed to be the perfect “idea” of adoption. The one we all want to see. Which is likely why people kept sharing it. We want to think of adoption this way. It’s so much easier and less messy.
The reality is, fostering/adopting is much different. For a 4 year old that walks into my home for the first time, there may be a very strong maternal instinct that kicks in. And it says, “I am going to protect this child with every ounce of my being, and I pity the person who gets in the way.” It’s why foster parents inadvertently tick off DHS workers all the time. We are working under a maternal instinct that others don’t have for this child. But it may feel different than love.
Here is the ugly truth about adoption: It’s okay if a 4 year old didn’t meet you, and love you, in their heart immediately. Or maybe they did, but they’ve still never articulated it perfectly. It’s okay if you adopted a teen and that teenager STILL won’t call you mom. It’s okay if you adopted a newborn, and bonded way faster than when you adopted an older child. It’s okay if your adoption failed and you still blame yourself.
We’ve adopted young children. Whom I love with that deep kind of love that makes you so vulnerable. In every sense of the word, we have a fairytale adoption. My children were infants, or toddlers, and being mom was natural. But, it’s not always that way. And it may not always be that easy for us. And man, we hate to talk about that part.
To the adoptive and foster moms out there who don’t think they can do one more day. You can. To the moms out there feeling guilty because it wasn’t “love at first sight”, like my friend Christina likes to say, you are doing great. To the moms who saw this video and wondered what was wrong with you, you aren’t alone.
Adoption is great. And messy. And not perfect. And hard. And more times than not, our children don’t “love us in their hearts.” In fact, they can’t stand us. They want to punch us. They want to run away. They want their “real” mom. Or “real” dad. But that doesn’t make you a failure. It doesn’t make you less than a mother.
You are more than worthy. You are currently in the palm of a God who loves you even when you don’t understand or feel it. You are sought after and set apart. And even when things don’t turn out the way you thought….He isn’t surprised. And He is there to pick you up, dust you off, and help you try again.
Last night, I was yelling at my dear 10 year old when I realized my son was on video chat with his quiz bowl team. They were likely listening to our crazy, instead of naming Presidents, (or whatever it is quiz bowl kids do). So, I immediately dialed down the crazy and hoped for the best. All that to say this…..you may not have a cute video of a child telling you they love you. Your videos may actually contain more cursing than cute, but know this…….you are so loved. And you are killing this mom thing.