It's not PC to say adoption changes things. Nor is it PC to say adoption is always predicated by brokeness. It's nicer to talk about "forever families" and "solving the orphan crisis one child at a time." But that, my friends, is spin. It tells one side of a story that is far more complex and messy. Adoption is never ideal. Never. It is only necessary when something goes wrong. Trauma, disability, attachment challenges are the reality in many adoption stories.
The people writing copy for adoption agency brochures weren't at preschool yesterday when I came to pick up my five and a half year old. Because the *#it that went down just then would not have made the cut for footage in agency promotional material.
The daughter of my heart did not want to come home with me. Even a little bit.
So, I pulled out my best Karyn Purvis therapeutic parenting tactics.
-I stayed light and playful.
-I gave time for transition.
I provided a transitional object and sensory input.
I tried distraction
then, I gave 2 choices given at eye level in a low calm voice.
fail, fail, epic fail, fail, fail.
So, as the awkward tension built in the room, and while on looking parents tried politely to avert eye-contact, I was left with one less than fabulous choice.
I hauled that kid up, gave her a giant bear hug, and made a bee line for the car to the soundtrack of: " I don't want to be with you, I love Miss Jenn (who she's known for a week). I want to stay at school forever."
And 30 minutes later she stopped. My eardrums are in recovery.
My older children have developed coping mechanisms for these type of public displays. They are far from uncommon, and my trauma savvy bio crew can spot the signs of a meltdown a mile away. They ask for the keys to the car and wait there until I can come to them. (Yes, CPS, I send my bio kids to sit and wait for me in the car. Yes, I know it is illegal. Yes, I believe it is the best, and safest option for them in these moments. So, rookie social workers, you can tell me how to raise my kids when you've broken a sweat restraining my out of control child, and lived to tell about it. Then, you may have an opinion.)
Sometimes I can figure the triggers to such melt-downs. Sometimes, I simply cannot. The preschool pick-up debacle was predicated by a tough transition morning, and an unexpectedly absent lead teacher, plus some weak cause and effect reasoning. My daughter felt that if she left, her lead teacher (whom she adores) might not come back to school. And she was a helpless, hysterical puddle. For me. She was delightful all during preschool, which is how it works, my friends. Mamas take the brunt of it.
Healing comes at a price, and sometimes healing doesn't come at all. Birthparents pay. Adoptive families pay. Adoptee's pay. Entire cultures pay. And the cost of early trauma is monumental.
So I pulled out a my figurative checkbook, and wrote a check to my daughter. The cost? My pride. Because, um, we got some looks, as she pummeled me and screamed on the way to the car. But what the preschool parent crowd didn't see was the 20 minutes we sat snuggled up in our favorite chair with sup-ups, warm milk, songs and soggy kisses. She is a precious treasure. I love her with my whole heart - so much it aches.
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement he hid it again, sold everything he had to get enough money to buy the field.