Not that I am not real other times, in fact the real me tends to be quite upbeat and optimistic and, of course, what I like to share with others tends to be happy, too. The truth is that my life is great. I am thrilled to be fulfilling a dream of mine and what I believe is part of God’s plan for my life. Super T is adjusting very well, and we are all happy. I could write a really upbeat and happy post (and hopefully will soon, telling some of the progress we have made), but I wanted to highlight a difficulty or two for people who are interested in adoption or just whoever is curious and wants a glimpse into our lives. I wanted to write about this after the first month, but wasn’t sure I was confident enough in the good to tell of the not-so-good (not to mention lack of time!)
Super T has adjusted amazingly quickly and well. We have had NO major problems, but this adjustment period has still been quite challenging in many ways. I find myself with so much empathy for people who do have major issues in their adoptions. The truth is, I spent the first month he was home, thinking thoughts like, “I don’t regret doing this…Super T belongs in our family, but this is HARD, and adoption is NOT for everyone.”
Super T has some sensory issues that I didn’t expect (although I probably should have since he spent almost his first two years in the hospital.) It was rather overwhelming and frightening to realize this, but I am so blessed to have friends who have walked this road before and have been a huge encouragement to me and great resources. Fortunately his issues are really relatively minor and now I have some tools to deal with them, but it is a pretty constant issue in our lives (although definitely manageable.)
CONSTANT is the word I would use to describe my life right now. It is good, but it is so constant. There is always one (or two or three) child(ren) who need something from me. I have only sat through one church service in the last three months (although I think I will be able to leave Super T in his class soon…I have been going to his class with him to help him get used to it.) I have to go to bed shortly after the children do, so I can get up before them because, although Super T in many ways is like a preschooler, his body is 9 years old, so he doesn’t need as much sleep as I wish he needed. Weekends were a real adjustment (for me.) Super T doesn’t understand why I would want a break therefore there is no such thing as a lazy weekend.
It truly is three steps forward and one step back. We have had such huge progress in several areas over the last few weeks (speech/sign, playing, security, etc.). It is easy to think that the progress will continue at that pace, then you have a step-back day (last Monday was one) and feel like you are starting all over again (which you are not, but you have to encourage yourself through it.) It can be tricky to realize that this seemingly well-adjusted child just 3 months ago had everything in his life change and now he wonders if this new thing (camping trip, change in seating at meal-time, unexpected guest, etc.) is going to change everything again. Sometimes it doesn’t phase my boy, but other times he really is affected by a seemingly small change. Flexibility is key. I have to not be so attached to my schedule that I am not willing to take the time to comfort him and get him through it. This can make it challenging to complete the best laid plans.
Seven years ago I experienced a year of firsts without Michael…each one brought its own variety of pain and often smiles through tears. I’d have to say that experiencing “firsts” with Super T has been strangely similar. My heart grieves that at age 9 he experienced his first Easter with his family and that he will be 10 when he has his first Christmas with us. All the little firsts are fun, interesting, and/or painful, too: first snow, first pizza night, first time to our church, first popcorn night, first annual spring Woodward park visit, first trip to the zoo, first Turkey Mountain hike, first time to play in the mud, first camping trip, first time to meet his grandma, etc…and then there are the other firsts…like the first time Super T fell asleep without rocking himself…cuddled up to me.
The good FAR, FAR outweighs the bad, but I wanted to let others in on a bit of the reality of the first months with an adopted child, even when things are going great. Two huge benefits I have seen in my own life (not even counting the huge blessing Super T himself is) are that I am becoming more efficient and more fun…efficient and fun…two words I never would have used in the past to describe myself...all thanks to my sweet boy.
[Super T has now been home for a year and a half. He has completely adjusted into our family and so have we. Everything is going GREAT. I just wanted to transfer these notes from Facebook.]