Sweet Time

By Tisha at Deutschland.

“Don’t be hard on yourself, it takes time to acclimate.” That’s what a friend told me soon after we returned home with our two children.

Desperately I wanted to believe her words. Caught in the grip of a downward spiral which included a cycle of shock and guilt that was ushered in with the entrance to Our New Life, I was unsure if they would ever be true.

I wondered what I had done to myself, to my family, to my husband (this was my big idea after all!) to our kids. I grieved the end of life as we knew it, the way things once were, when it was all so much easier, when I felt like a mother to all of my children.

I longed for the days that I loved being a mom. Our home felt pretty strong and secure. Perhaps we had something good we might offer, we thought. We could reach out to little ones who needed a home, welcome them. I was moved with compassion every time the precious faces of those orphaned children flashed across my computer screen.

It became clear after the arrival of our kids, that time was suddenly gone. Everything was so much harder than I expected. The books and classes and preparation hadn’t mentioned it would be like this, did they? If so, it didn’t register in my mind.

We flailed. Uncertain of what to do with all those moments in each day, how to begin to communicate, to teach, to guide and instruct and comfort and heal, we trudged through the hours. I grieved. The caregiver who once thought she had so much to give, became quite needy.

There were times that if someone had offered me a ‘take back’ I may have run with it.

This was my shameful secret.

Then, slowly, gradually, it all began to turn around. The simple things moms do for their kids started to feel normal. Our new family dynamic wasn’t so strange anymore.

I began taking time for myself to fill my reserves.

I knew I could do this. We would be ok.

One day, I realized, there was no way I would accept a take back. I would fight for them. These were my children. I am their mother, and not just because a piece of paper says so, but because my heart grew and enveloped my Ethiopian treasures.

I used to think I knew about love. I now know I didn’t.

My children are teaching me. And, it is a lesson I’m only beginning to learn.

My friend was right; for some of us, it takes time to acclimate.

Thank you Lord for time, sweet time.

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. Melissa
    January 9, 2011

    It was so great to read this morning. I could have written the first part of this post, it was describing exactly how I have felt and do feel. Thank you for sharing, I needed the encouragement, it will take time, but I am praying and with God's help it will happen.

    Reply
  2. Hannah Tucker
    January 9, 2011

    This was absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Reply
  3. karey
    January 9, 2011

    I love this honesty! We are in the process of adopting a child through the state (we have three biological kids) and I have some of the same fears – it is so great to see them in someone elses words and not just hear them in the quiet of my heart. And SO encouraging to see that she was brought *through* them! I know that God has led our family to the decision we've made and I know He'll see us through it, but the fears are still there. Thank you for sharing this!

    Reply
  4. Gloria
    January 9, 2011

    This post brought tears to my eyes as it describes our journey like a mirror. This is such an important post and I hope that many families who are in their first adoption process (either pre-adoption or in the early stages) have the chance to read it. When I was in my downward spiral, I didn't have access to this kind of honest post and it would have made a huge difference. Thanks for your honest words.

    Reply
  5. Katie
    January 9, 2011

    I loved reading about your experience. This is exactly how I felt one year ago when we brought our 3 and 5 year old home. Thank you for your honesty. It is true, it just takes time.

    Reply
  6. Courtney
    January 9, 2011

    beautiful, tisha. His story in your life is beautiful.thanks for sharing it with us!

    Reply
  7. Chrissy
    January 9, 2011

    As a Mama in the midst of this…please tell me how long this acclimation process takes because right now? It feels like forEVER. 🙂 Just kidding (sort of)…it's good to know that I am not alone in these feelings! Love my new twins more than I can say…it's just SO hard some days.

    Reply
  8. Paula
    January 9, 2011

    Wow. I could have written that. We still have lots and lots of hard days, but they're getting fewer. Our twins have been home 19 months and we are less than two months away from a court date for our new son. Bracing for round two.

    Reply
  9. Hannah
    January 9, 2011

    Oh, this gave me goose bumps. It's my story too!! We met our daughter in Kazakhstan exactly 9 years ago and have had lots of those days since, (thought our 3 bio sons would never forgive me) but things are so much better now. We are waiting for a court date for our 3 sibs from Ethiopia. Praying for strength to make it through the hard times. Love hearing that others are in this too. It helps!! Thank you for your honesty.

    Reply
  10. Melissa P
    January 9, 2011

    Thank you for your honesty. We just brought home a 9 mos. old and 6 year old from Ethiopia this past summer and it has been HARD. So much of what you described has been our life. If it wasn't for the blog community, I would think I was so alone. I am thankful that you are coming out on the other end. I thought we would be further along than we are to be honest. But, I am going to take courage and believe this will take time.

    Reply
  11. lauradodson
    January 9, 2011

    Thank you for your honesty. It takes courage to be honest not only with yourself, but others. I'm sure it is easier now that you have really begun to settle into you new family. I still feel wobbly most days–after 14 months–but do know that there are days where I soar. I know that those days will begin to increase, but boy has it been a hard row to hoe. There were times where I'd have taken a 'take back' too. Not anymore, but there were days. Thank you for your candid picture.

    Reply
  12. Julie
    January 9, 2011

    You are not alone in these feelings. I felt the same way. This healing stuff is hard! But it is worth it, and I have also learned so much about love from my little one. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  13. Julie Webb
    January 9, 2011

    Thanks so much. We are in the thick of the grief and adjustment, with howling, angry children who don't have enough of a bond yet to receive comfort. Feeling really ineffective this weekend. Praying that I can just keep on with the little Mother tasks until it feels normal again.

    Reply
  14. Tisha
    January 10, 2011

    Thank you for the kind comments. It is good to know we have eachother as we journey through adoption territory!! I was not sure if I should have given this to Lisa, and in fact, afterward I told her I would be glad to send something a bit 'happier' if she would rather not post this. But, I am so glad she did. Because sometimes what we are doing is just plain hard – surprisingly difficult in ways we never expected. And we can easily become discouraged, especially if we feel alone in our struggle to attach to our children. There is such comfort in community. Thank you again for taking the time to respond.

    Reply
  15. Tammia
    January 14, 2011

    Thanks for this honest post. I've been shocked, scared, and overwhelmed at times as I've been hit with a whole new set of emotions after the adoption of our little girl. The entire journey has been so different than it was with our bio children. I did a lot of reading and felt prepared, but I wasn't prepared for the challenges my own adjustment. My sweet new daughter has taught me so much about unconditional love and along with the challenges and adjustments, I'm grateful for the many blessings embedded in our adoption process. I feel that adoption is often romanticized and so I'm grateful for your honest point of view.

    Reply

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