Friday, April 11, 2014

Keeping it real

Yesterday on Facebook, a fellow adoptive mom (Hi Sharon!) thanked me for "keeping it real" in this blog post.  I greatly appreciated her comment because I had made a deliberate decision not to sugar coat the post.  In adoption, there is a tendency toward black and white.  Adoption is either all rainbows and lollipops--everyone lives happily ever after as soon as the family is united--or it's all doom and gloom--either the adoptive parents or the adopted child turn out to be monsters.

Come on people, this is life.  Rarely is anything black or white.  Like everything else, adoption is full of shades of gray.

Sometimes I'm a really good mom.  Sometimes I'm not.

Sometimes my kids (both biological and adopted) are great.  Sometimes they're not.

Times of transition--like integrating two kids from a different country into the family--bring out the best and the worst in all of us.  Keeping this in mind will save your sanity the first few weeks after you come home.  You will not be perfect.  In fact, you probably won't even be close to the parent you want to be.  You will lose your patience.  You will let your kids eat junk food because you're too tired to cook.  You will park them in front of the TV, grateful that Sponge Bob transcends language and cultural barriers.   You will snap at your kids and immediately regret it.  You will snap at your kids and not regret it for a loooooong time because they are driving you crazy!

Your kids will kick and scream because it's bed time.  They will crawl behind the couch and pout because they think their sister got a larger piece of apple than they did.  They will wait until the last possible minute to tell you they have to potty and then pee on the floor.  They will scream at you to give them a drink RIGHT NOW, not caring that you are changing their brother's diaper.  They will whistle or sing at the TOP of their lungs just to get your attention.  They will throw toys at the television.  They will hit the dogs.  They will pull the cat's tail.  They will choke you and scream in your face because they don't like their dinner.  They will reject everything you offer them to eat.  Or they will gorge themselves to the point of throwing up.  Everyone (including the dogs) will urgently need your attention at the same exact time--most likely when you are either trying to sleep or go to the bathroom.

This has been my house for the past week.  Ugly, isn't it?

Also completely normal when you bring a child home.

In adoption, I think we spend so much time preparing for the child, anticipating the child, reading travel blogs, and planning to travel that we forget the real work begins after we get home.  And when it gets real, we can feel so, so alone.  After all, the adoption blogs we read were full of sunshine and lollipops.  Other people didn't have any problems after bringing their child home.  Their kids didn't spit on them or slap them across the face while saying (in Mandarin): "I'm going to hit you until you die."  All those other kids are dressed in matching outfits for an outing in the park.  They're also sparkling clean when they get home.  No grass stains or mud to be found.

Um, no.  Not real.  We sanitize our lives to appear perfect, when the truth is life is messy.  It's full of mud and grass stains.  We don't help anyone when we pretend otherwise.  So from now on, I'm going to do my best to be Real.  Both about writing and parenting.  If I'm honest, that's why I haven't blogged so much.  Because I thought no one would want to read about the real life struggles (and joys) we go through.  It's not that I wasn't truthful before, I was.  It's just that I presented things in the prettiest way possible.  And I often left out the really messy bits.

Well, enough of that.  I write this blog in the hopes of helping others, whether it's with writing or parenting/adoption.  But I'm not any help if I scrub the reality out of my posts.  It's time for me to get real.

I hope you'll stick with me.  Even when it isn't pretty, because I promise, it gets better!

1 comment:

  1. I love this..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Lets see...??
    How many exclamations points does it take to say
    I'm glad that you are not afraid to get to the real center of the sunshine and lollipops!!!
    At the center of both, it's hot and sticky!!!..And THAT"S OKAY!!!.....because it really does get better.
    You all are living proof!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..LOVE you!!