For those of you who don’t know us in real life…or have entered our lives more recently…I sat down to write out a blog-length version of our adoption story recently. I had agreed to it months ago. It was challenging writing it without the narrative being completely colored by where we currently are in our journey. You can click here to read it. A shout-out to Sarah for letting me share!
I struggled with what to write when these pictures came up in my flashback (a.k.a. never got around to being edited and shared) file. The emotions evoked when viewing these photos are hard to accept and raw. Instead of affection, I feel resentment. Instead of joy, I feel immense sadness. Friends, our family is battle weary and tired.
Grace currently isn’t living with us. Many have sympathized with what a hard decision that must have been. Can I be completely honest without being judged? It’s had hard moments, but generally we are relieved to have a break from the constant barrage of aggressive, maladaptive behaviors. Trauma was once defined to me as the consistent feeling of not being able to control a situation. By that definition, we all (including Grace) had been living in a persistent state of trauma for almost 3 years. We all (including Grace) need a breather. We can break the hypervigilance we were all living day in and day out by having Grace temporarily live in a safe place that’s not with us. In this arrangement, she will not need to be hypervigilant about how she’s being treated in relation to her siblings, AND her siblings will not need to be hypervigilant about whether or not they will be the target of her next tirade.
To be clear, we love Grace, are continuing to coordinate and participate in her care needs, have frequent contact with her, and are working with her therapist to make this a successful and healing respite. We recognize in our heads we are battling against trauma not a child and are begging our hearts to follow suit.
I debated on whether or not this was an appropriate post to share.
“Hi, my name is Melissa, and I’m an over-sharer.”
I decided it was important because I hear from too many families that they were convinced they were alone in their hardness before chatting with me OR that they had no idea that adoption could be this hard–even after the dozens of hours of required agency training. Part of stewarding our childrens’ stories well is protecting what is theirs. However, part of stewarding our family’s story well is that it be shared so that our suffering may not be in vain because there’s a chance that it could help another family not feel alone or be better prepared before bringing trauma kids into their home.
Back to the lighter, regularly (or not-so-regularly)-scheduled Foto Flashback Friday next time.