I'm pro-adoption. You may have figured that out already, but I just thought I should put that out there. That said, I am NOT about leading people to believe that adopting is a bowl of cherries with all the pits removed. It's not...at least not in this house.
This post is primarily for those who are considering adoption. Today, I am all about giving those thinking about adopting a dose of reality. Not to discourage, but to inform. You do nobody a service by adopting with your eyes shut tight.
Here's what "dealing with adoption" looked like in our house this morning. Some of the children were eating breakfast when Zoe began to talk about Ethiopia, specifically what her mom & dad looked like. She was 18 months when we got her, she has no real recollection of her Ethiopian parents, but we can speculate. She was thoroughly enjoying this conversation.
Two chairs down sat Marcus, initially participating in the conversation, and then suddenly very quiet. Even in the midst of getting breakfast on the table, I could see the brain ticking in his little head and the sadness starting to creep across his face. I asked a few questions; he gave a few answers. I gave him a big hug, and we went on with breakfast.
Fast forward an hour to school time, it quickly became apparent that the musings in his mind from the morning were still there, and he was ready to hate on the world. Even simple tasks like checking his addition problems were overwhelming to him, resulting in emotional and angry breakdowns. My efforts to teach him his writing lesson resulted in yelling and throwing of books (by him, not me). Even I could see that this wasn't about school, and it wasn't about math or writing. This was about grief and loss and unresolved anger and hurt...that happened to take the form of a really rough morning at school.
The reality of an adoptive parent's life is that they need to know this type of thing may be coming, and they need to realistically ask themselves are they ready to deal with it.