Why is it that even though my daughter has been home 8 months I still feel like I should hide all the hard stuff? I freely go on and on about how well she is adjusting, how fairytale like our adoption has been, how atypical of an adopted toddler she is. No matter how many times I tell the world that my daughter is flourishing, the fact remains that she is an adopted 3 year old girl who has only been home for 8 months. She has a past. She has memories of her past. She is still adjusting. She doesn’t know forever. She doesn’t know family. She knows loss. She knows abandonment. She knows hurt.
When my daughter is upset she says she is going to Congo. She asks for a different mommy and daddy. She explodes. She becomes someone else. She weeps. She shrieks. She runs.
Do I think she really wants to go to Congo? No. Do I think she really wants different parents? No. Do I think that she really thinks we will abandon her? Yes. Do I think that she really thinks we don’t love her at times? Yes.
Have you ever tried to teach a three year old about what it means to have a forever family? About unconditional love? About something that is permanent when everything else in her life has been short-term?
Sure all three year olds have their moments. Some may even throw out words similar to Odette’s. I hate you. I want a new family. I am running away. The difference is that Odette knows a “new family”. She knows “running away”. She did that. We helped her with that…We did. Our lives are forever vulnerable to moments (read hours) like this. We know that. We’ve read the books. We have prepared. My heart is more guarded when I hear those things now than when I did months ago. I react more with my brain and less with my heart. Because really my heart hurts. And to be honest (which I always try to be) my heart gets mad. I am not perfect, far from it in fact.
I am learning how to parent an adopted child. She is learning what it means to have a parent.
We will get there.