Saturday, May 9, 2015

In which five little people sign their name on my Mother's Day card...

Today I received a Mother's Day card in which five little people signed their names, two or three of them truly feeling the connection with me as their mother and another two or three who probably still aren't sure just yet.  This holiday is different for a lot of reasons and in the spirit of full disclosure I can honestly say, I don't feel the connection with all of them yet either.  In fact, I said to Tyler the other night after the worlds largest meltdown..."Is it wrong that I just want to take Emery out and celebrate this day with just her?  What does that say about me?".  And how many of them wish it wasn't me they are celebrating tomorrow but instead the foster mom they just spent over two years of their life with or their biological mom who even though she left them alone for hours at a time still carried them in her belly and are connected in similarities like hair, eyes, and skin color.
One of the tricky things about raising children who are adopted is that this holiday?  It can wreak havoc on their psyche.  All week in school the two oldest worked on little projects here and there that they are supposed to give me for mother's day, and my question they even want to?  All of these reflections, all of these questions and musings are not my Debbie Downer moments at all, it's just the reality of the way we chose to build our family and the hurt that is associated with these very traditional holiday's.  Do we deserve a medal?  No.  Do we want people to feel badly for us?  Never.  Do I want other adoptive parents to know they aren't alone when navigating this rocky terrain?  Without a doubt.  Parenting children from tough places is hands down the hardest thing we've ever done before and we knew it would be.  We didn't imagine this mentality of "oh sweet mother and father, thank you ever so much for giving me a roof over my head, food to eat, and clothes to wear.  However can I serve you this evening."  Sometimes I describe it like there are five little fires burning, lets just call them burn piles so as not to be dramatic.  There are five little burn piles going and we naturally must tend to the one that is getting a little out of hand, sometimes this requires both of us.  When it doesn't the other runs to the next bigger pile and helps keep that one under fire code but then runs back quickly to previous burn pile because the wind has kicked it up a little bit and it needs managed closely.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  For the last 23 days we have tended to these burn piles some days with success and other days with complete failure...and each morning we have to wake up, dust ourselves off and start fresh.  Start with forgiveness.  Start with grace and mercy.  With kindness and love and with the promise of the love of a Savior who has us all hemmed in tightly.
Here is what I know.  Next year will be different.  Next year there will be connection with most if not all.  Next year that week of school will still bring back painful memories of those they miss but I have a little bit of hope that when someone says the word "mom" instead of a question mark, my face will be the one flashing in their mind.
To my little fires, I know these days have been tough and I know that you're tired and that probably more than the fingers on your hands you have wished to go back home to what you know and stare into the faces of those familiar to you.  This little fire dance we're doing?  We'll get it sooner or later and it'll be the best ever and we'll win competitions because of it.  Because we chose to spend hours practicing it and perfecting it and it will become very secondhand to us, very normal and we'll look at each other wondering how in the world we lived our lives separately for so long.  Until that day comes, we'll mess up.  We'll miss some dance practices but we'll get back up, dust ourselves off and promise to do better next time.  I love you.

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