Its been 2 years now since our adoption of Five was finalized. Yes…for those who may have read my previous work, we did it!
I won’t get into the nitty gritty of the “showdown” that never really was. The bottom line is, we thought the hard part was over. We were right, and wrong, in alot of ways…and on that I shall elaborate.
We were right in that, since the adoption was finalized, we have heard nary a word from Baby Mama. She went to jail a few times, got kicked out of a few more rehabs, got some reckless driving charges, and on an even sadder note, dragged some people down into the abyss with her, but that’s another blog post and I digress.
What we were wrong about is this….the struggle is so very real. Raising a child who lived giant chunks of her life in an overwhelmingly toxic environment is stressful. Perhaps there are those who might read this who have adopted truly suffering children who have been abused in ways I don’t even want to think about. And honestly, I am forever grateful knowing that she never suffered in any of those ways. But we have discovered over the past 2 years that she did not, in fact, escape unscathed.
The struggle as a mom can be such a neverending, and almost destructive type of anger that I find I try very hard to internalize. I admit this is not a good thing. But since this is not exactly my first rodeo with horrible parental figures, I feel like my way of coping has been perfected, modified, perfected some more over the years where I have learned to deal with it in my own way.
I feel angry alot. ALOT. not at Number 5 of course, but at the people along the way that failed her, in even the smallest of ways. Those who could have stepped in sooner, who could have prevented at least some of the issues we are dealing with and will be dealing with possibly the rest of our lives.
This is not your average 10 year old (she turns 11 this year and I just can’t believe how fast the time flies!!!). Her behavior has changed, some of it has improved, but we’re still talking maybe the social skills of your average 7 year old here. She’s been to counseling, speech classes, more counseling and speech, groups that help her learn proper social skills to make and maintain friendships with peers in her age group. It’s nonstop work.
The one thing that I, for some unknown reason, thought she would pick up quickly, she did not, but it seems to be improving recently. Her adjustment to life with 4 siblings. She still has her struggles, and moments where she whines that she just wants some “quiet time by herself”. HA! girl, me too! I don’t say that, but I’m totally thinking it. For the most part though, I guess I hadn’t realized the amount of things those of us who have multiple children that grew up together or those of us who have siblings probably take for granted. You know that there will be a certain amount of button pushing, of teasing, of playing in competitive ways that kids who grow up with siblings learn to see as normal and use it almost as a type of socialization tool. These are people who are ultimately on your side, they know where your buttons are and will push them mercilessly and unrelentingly until you cry…but if an outside person were to do the same, it simply is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.
Honestly, it really is little things like this that maybe we take for granted…until you can no longer. Such is my life now. Lots of explaining. Lots of coaching a 10 year old on how to deal with social type situations that most children learn to deal with somewhat organically.
On another note…One was accepted to college and will be graduating high school this year!!! I’m definitely going to ugly cry. For sure. It will be embarrassing for everyone, this I can guarantee. But at least I have 11 years to go before Four graduates high school also…11 years of graduations and parties, of milestones and struggles…and alot more ugly crying. Definitely.
Maybe the hard part is really over, but the struggle most definitely is not. But that’s why wine exists, right?