Oh my. The last two weeks have been hard. Rough around the edges, messy through the middle, and filled with pain at the core.
But the last few days have been good. Not perfect, but better.
Scott has been reading The Adopted Child – a book filled with wisdom for those of us who have no clue what we are doing! One of the chapters in this book deals specifically with children who have had a very short transition time from their biological parents to their adoptive parents. This is Leah.
If you remember, she had only 4 weeks between the time she left her mother and when her adoption was finalized and she came to us.
4 weeks to get used to the idea of leaving behind everything that made up her identity.
It doesn’t matter what her life looked like, what it felt like, if it was hungry and cold and angry….it only mattered that it was all she knew.
This book said that children who have this short transition time, regardless of the circumstances, they process the adoption as a sort of “kidnapping.” This, too, is Leah.
She can’t begin to reason her way through the complex emotions that fill her heart. She can’t even give herself permission to feel all of those emotions. And so she vacillates between allowing herself to grow a tenuous attachment to me, and then pushing me away and punishing me for taking her from the woman who gave her life.
This punishment rains blows upon my heart.
But, of course, I am not supposed to show that.
And so I stuff my emotions down into my stomach and don’t allow them to surface. I get indigestion. I feel nauseous. I have to draw deep, shaky breaths because I feel my lungs constricting with the effort of holding it all inside. I cry at bedtime.
And, yes, sometimes I feel angry. Angry at a world full of sin that has caused such pain. Angry at a dysfunctional family that left emotional scars on my daughter. And, wrong though it may be, angry at my daughter for treating me like this.
Leah does not think I love her. She has convinced herself that no one can love her. She has a playlist running through her head. “No one likes me. I have no friends. I do not belong anywhere. I am not worthy. No one loves me.” If she is loveable, why did her own mother not keep her?
And nothing I do or don’t do, say or don’t say, can change her opinion.
Change will come with time, and patience, and a healing that can happen only if she allows God to touch her heart.
And I think of her mother, her other mother, the one who lives halfway around the world and has not seen her beautiful daughter in almost a year.
What must she be feeling? Does she think about her children every day? Does she picture them in an America that she has never seen but can only imagine? Does she pray for them? Does she worry about them?
Every mother, regardless of the circumstances or the capability, has a connection to the children she births. If that child is gone, then a piece of you is missing.
And every child, regardless of the circumstances or the deservability, has a connection to the woman who carried them in her womb. If that mother is gone, then a piece of your identity is missing.
And this mother, this adoptive mother who is stumbling her way through uncharted territory, prays that Leah can somehow reconcile the love for her two mothers within her own heart.
LEGACY OF AN ADOPTED CHILD
Once there were two women
Who never knew each other.
One you only remember,
The other you call mother.
Two different lives
Shaped to make yours one.
One became your guiding star,
The other became your sun.
The first gave you life
And the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love
And the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality,
The other gave you a name.
One gave you a seed of talent,
The other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions,
The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile,
The other dried your tears.
One gave you up —
It was all that she could do.
The other prayed for a child
And God led her straight to you.
And now you ask me
Through your tears,
The age-old question
Through the years:
Heredity or environment
Which are you the product of?
Neither, my darling — neither,
Just two different kinds of love.