This is a debut post by Jennifer Summers, who serves as Content Creator for The Honestly Adoption Podcast and Oasis Community within Confessions Of An Adoptive Parent. We are thrilled to share this post with you.
It’s a question all of us, on the foster or adoptive journey, have asked a time or two. Especially when things are tough at home, and our kiddos are struggling. But the real answer to this question may surprise you.
It depends on what you’re really asking. Are you asking if I feel like it is worth it or if I KNOW it is worth it?
Do you want the raw and honest truth? You’d be scared if you saw it. If you saw the actual mess. Not the “oh, this messy journey…hahaha, (insert winky emoticon) mess.” I’m talking about the actual, nasty mess that this journey often is: The mess I know all about, from living it for the last 10, long years. The mess I hear all about, when other adoptive mamas feel safe enough to share with me the reality of what hell they are going through.
Not a day goes by where I don’t hear it and almost believe it. It’s that voice that whispers and reminds me of all the awful things I wonder about myself, and this journey as an adoptive and foster parent. But there’s a few truths I’ve discovered about this voice.
You heard it, didn’t you? I’m willing to bet, the moment you opened your eyes this morning, it whispered. Heck, it may have even infiltrated your dreams. Like a thief entering your house undetected, it slithered it’s way into your bedroom and poured itself right into your ear. It whispered to you before you even moved your body from beneath your covers. I know you heard it because I heard it too…
It’s not a question of “If you’ll become tired,” it’s a question of “When you become tired.” As much as we’d like to say we have the strength to handle the trials of foster care and adoption, the reality is, it can take the life out of you. How do you take care of yourself when this happens?
Time and time again we find ourselves hitting the wall emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We love our kids so deep, it makes the deepest ocean look like a puddle. This is never a question in our mind. But, along the way, we run out of gas. There are seasons when our children’s special needs wear us thin. Or, the day in and day out battles of parenting break us. We need rest.
Yawning, yawning, and more yawning. If that describes you, we want you to know- You’re not alone! There’s a way to find rest and it’s not as difficult as you think it is.
The year was 2004 and we were the parents of a 2 year old. We had adopted her at birth, she was healthy and happy, and almost like clockwork, she began to sleep through the night at 3 months old. “This parenting gig is easy,” we thought. Boy were we in for a rude awakening (literally).
When we first started down the foster and adoptive road, we were energized and excited. But exhaustion quickly kicked in and left us defeated. We soon wondered: Will we ever find our way back to a place of rest?
I remember staring at our newborn daughter, who was screaming at the top of her lungs at 3am, and begging her to fall back asleep. Of course, being a newborn, she wasn’t listening to me. I yawned one of those out-of-control yawns. I hadn’t seen that hour of the night since college. I soon realized this was just the beginning.
*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post by our good friend Lisa Qualls. She is a writer, speaker, mom of 12, and the creator of Thankful Moms
, where she writes about motherhood, adoption, faith, and grief. Lisa is a mom by birth and adoption. Along with her husband Russ, their adoption journey has been marked by joy as well as challenges of trauma and attachment. You can visit her blog here
, and connect with her on Facebook here
Sometimes the adoption journey can leave us questioning our ability as parents. But the trials may lead to personal growth that we never thought was possible.
I was pouring a cup of coffee when my friend called. She asked if I had a minute to talk and when I answered, “Yes,” her resolve quickly faded and she began to cry. She told me about a conflict with her newly adopted son. Despite her best intentions, she was convinced she had failed to handle it well.
It’s not unusual for parents to find themselves in over their heads. This is especially true for foster and adoptive parents. We’re constantly on overload. But how do you know when enough is enough, and it’s time to change direction?
I remember the summer of 2008 like it was yesterday. It was one of the best summers we had ever experienced as a family. But it was also one of the worst. Hot, adventurous, muggy, defeating, joy-filled, tiring, fun and overwhelming all mixed into one. We were burning the wick at both ends. Life was beyond crazy.
It’s time to get out of bed but you don’t want to. Ever felt this way after a really bad day, or week? If so, you’re not alone. How do you pull yourself together and get up even when you just want to quit?
The feeling comes in all shapes and sizes, from many different sources. Sometimes, your child is out of control, disobedient, defiant and you are pushed to your absolute limit. Other times, you feel like you just can’t win and that life for every other parent around you is perfect, while you’re struggling to stand on your own two feet. Sometimes it’s exhaustion. You’re so tired you have no idea how you will face another day, let alone make it through the rest of the one you’re currently in.