It is nearly over, this month of November when awareness is being raised about adoption and Americans are giving thanks. These two seemingly unrelated subjects are actually very much related in our home.
The emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, the abandonment and chaos. all of the trauma our adopted children have experienced leads me to be thankful that I never experienced such things. I live closer to all of that trauma, through them, then anyone would ever want to live. It does not go away, it is there always, it is a part of who they are.
Raising children who TBIs, FASD, CP, and all of the other alphabet soup leads me to be thankful for all the successes in life, no matter how small they seem. The success of being able to zip a jacket after years of trying, the success of tying your own shoes, and the success of being able to spread peanut butter and jelly on your own toast are all things to be thankful for. Even the nonstop chatter all day every day, of a child who was never supposed to be able to speak, is a success, although there are times when it sure would be nice to have quiet for just a few minutes.
Raising a child who will not or maybe can not show love is even something to be thankful for. This idea may seem a bit out of line for most people, but this child has brought the rest of our family closer together then ever before. We need each other to get through the challenges that are brought about by attachment disorders. This child has taught all of us how precious a gift it is to be able to give and receive love.
The life we have as a family who has adopted children with special needs is very challenging, every single day. There are medical issues and crisis, and behavioral issues to deal with all of the time. There is the very broken "system" that is constantly throwing us for a loop with some new rule or to take something away. There is always the threat of allegations being brought against us because we have a child who manipulates, lies, and can make up a whopper of a tale when the opportunity arises.
The things I am now finding myself being thankful for are much different then they were before these children came into our lives. Material things are much less important to me now. Many of the material things that I once thought were so important have new been destroyed by our adopted children.
I am thankful for professionals who REALLY do understand and work very hard to provide the medical care, therapies, and educational services that these children deserve and need. They may not have all of the answers, but together we do the best that we can for them.
I am thankful for family and friends who support us in what we are doing.
I am thankful for my husband who can always find something positive about the situation even when things get very rough.
I am thankful for my adopted children who have taught me lessons in patience, understanding, determination, and love that I would have never had the opportunity to experience without them.
As this month comes to a close I am thankful for adoption. Sometimes, okay a lot of the time it is very challenging to parent these very hurt children, but without adoption I would not know how trauma really affects the children, because you can read about and study it but unless you live with it every day you REALLY have no idea what trauma is. These children have opened my eyes to a world of alcohol, drugs, violence, poverty, crime, and social injustice that I would have never known existed in this country of plenty. They give us much to be thankful for every day by being themselves.