When you’re mom of ten, people often think you don’t know your kids as well as someone who has two children. I don’t know. Maybe I don’t. But, I can say, that there are some things that are hard not to notice. One would have to be remarkably thick not to see how much Poppy has changed since being here. Better pain control, some meds for her “bubble eye”, and constant love from nine brothers and sisters has made her feel pretty darn adventurous. She is all over the place, exploring, talking up a storm and, really, feeling pretty secure in her surroundings. This part of the adoption process always amazes me. You get to watch a child who has every reason in the world to never ever trust an adult again take a chance and learn to love the people who love her with everything they have.
I love that I get to see it.
As I watch one find security, I watch another struggle, because, as I’ve explained to a fair number of first time adoptive parents, yet I still tend to forget it myself, attachment is a process, not a destination. I watch a little girl who should have found security with us the way all our other children did, struggling to trust at all. After what she endured, she has no reason to ever trust another adult again, and well, she’s bound and determined not to. We go in cycles. She started school doing amazing things and we did great for 6 weeks. That’s 3 weeks longer than she has ever lasted when a transition occurs. Her new sister, the new teacher, the general newness in life, has thrown her for a loop. She’s acting out in every way she knows how, pushing us away at every turn, and needing weekly therapies just to hold on. She makes me more angry than any child I have ever parented, fostered or worked with. It makes me even more angry that this was all caused but what people didn’t do for her in her first three years of life, and what they did to her. All we can do is reassure her that, in these moments, we may not like her behavior, but that we aren’t giving up on her. It is my hope that someday, she will come to believe it.
But, I’m still angry that I have to see it.
As all this is happening, I watch another daughter’s health begin to fail. I see the subtle signs, because I watch her like a hawk. I see the faint blue tinge to her fingernails and her lips. I see her huffing and puffing harder as she runs. I see her asking me more and more to pick her up. On Saturday, we left the open house at “her” yoga studio and she was determined to walk to the corner. It was a beautiful fall day. She put her little hand in mine, we began the walk, and she stopped after about twenty feet. She couldn’t do it anymore. She needs to be carried or pushed in a stroller nearly everywhere. She needs to sit down while she plays. And, the very worst of it is that she sees it happening to herself. She asks why she can’t play soccer, why she can’t go to dance class and why she naps during the day when she’s “not a baby.” I see her beginning to wonder why she’s different. I see her wondering why her heart is broken. I see her wondering why it is beginning to fail her.
My heart breaks every time I see it.
–FullPlateMom, who sees it all.