Adoption Transparency

Now that we are home with two adopted daughters,  I am often asked by caring friends, "So, how are you doing?"

By asking that question, my sweet friends, with the best intentions, have asked me an immensely difficult question.  One that I struggle with how to answer.

In general, things are going well.  And in the adoption spectrum, I suspect things are going above average.  That being said, these adoptions have changed our family dynamics, brought moments of sheer joy, but also times of immense stress.

Last Christmas we went to a party.  We were all dressed up.  Everyone was in a good mood. Many of the people had never met all of our children.  Todd remarked, "If people only looked at our family tonight, they would assume that everything in our home is perfectly normal."  These remarks were made after a stressful day (adoption related) the day before.

When people ask me how we are, I tend to say that things are o.k.  Because, in truth, they are.  If you average the hard days and the good days, our current status is o.k.

So, what is the truth?  Some days I feel very alone and very isolated.  Some days I am not coping well with the stress.  Some days I just feel tired dealing with all of the issues.  Some days I wonder if we will ever be "normal."  Some days I wonder if I will be able to celebrate a holiday without having to watch one of my kids struggle with it.

And why don't I share the truth?  I think there are several reasons...

1.  Although I know my friends are asking out of genuine concern, a casual conversation or a public blog is not the right place to share my deep challenges.

2.  There is (on my part) a somewhat misguided notion that I should put a good face on to keep the image of adoption positive, so I downplay the difficulties (and yes, I know that this ultimately is a disservice to potential adoptive parents).

3.  I don't want to violate the privacy of my girls.  I don't want to share anything that would embarrass  them or cause others to shy away from them.

So, I am faced with a vicious cycle.  I feel isolated but I have difficulty telling others about my needs.  I suspect that I am not the only adoptive parent that feels this way.

I have chosen in my blog to talk about the positives, but please know that there are struggles.  If you ever have any questions, please ask (or write) to me.  I can share more privately than I can in a public forum.

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