There are so many things I didn’t know about adoption.
When my family started the adoption process, I was blown away by the amount of training we
had to do. It was a mountain. I mean hours upon hours of training. Hague training (since it was an
international adoption with a Hague country), China Specific Hague training, books and reports, older
child training from both our home study agency AND placement agency. I would say it amounted in
hours to a full week of training.
We learned about RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder), special needs, emotional needs,
orphanage delays, what our child may have gone through and how she may be when we get her, grief
that she would feel about leaving her whole life behind, cultural reading, and something called “grateful
but angry”. We felt super prepared. As prepared as we were going to be.
Except for one thing: No one told me how I would feel.
I walked in with this picture of what family day would look like. She knew we were coming. We had a
video call, she had a photo album, and we were told she was excited to have a family. We were excited she
was coming. What could go wrong?
EVERYTHING. Everything could go wrong.
I was completely surprised by what happened. Tears. So. Many. Tears. I knew about the grief and
expected sadness, but I didn’t expect wailing, weeping into her dinner, and the stares from
curious/nosey on lookers. That was just the first week in country. That wasn’t as hard as the second
All attitude, All the time. I seriously adopted a teenager and she wasn’t going to let me ever forget.
That week was when my feelings crept in. I was irritated, angry, and grieving for the family I gave up
going after her.
I didn’t expect her to be grateful. Honestly, I understand the trauma of adoption, but some kindness would have been awesome. I was surprised by how closed off and lonely I felt. I missed home, and I missed the children I left behind that LIKED me.
But I thought I couldn’t say anything. What kind of monster felt this way?
Really, I wasn’t alone at all. My case worker and other adoptive moms listened and confirmed that this is
normal. NORMAL???? I wasn’t a terrible person??? This would pass with time and perseverance?
I wish someone had told me. I wish I had been prepared. But the truth is, I wouldn’t have heard them. I
couldn’t have heard them. I was so full of hope and I needed to be full of that hope. Or I would have
said no. I would have never gone through this.
Some days are good, and some days make me want to pull my hair out and throw in the towel.
Adoption is hard. Harder than anything I have ever done. But it isn’t only hard due to the obvious
reasons. It is hard for reasons that you don’t see until you are in the middle of it.
If you are walking this road, you aren’t alone. You don’t have to pretend its easy. Find someone to talk to. A “Been There
Done That” mom and pour out your grief.