Amazing how a week and a half makes a difference in this life. Honestly, it is a testament to how much emotional upheaval is involved in this life change; the emotional swings are ridiculous. I may not be hormonal from pregnancy, but I figure I’m just as emotional as any pregnant lady.
So, as I wait for the ICPC, prep for Hope’s upcoming 16 day visit, and plan for my adoption shower, new information is emerging about my daughter. It is tough reading about what she’s been through. During our visit a few weeks ago, Hope shared things that I hadn’t been told at that point. I kept my negative reactions to a minimum because I didn’t want to do or say anything that would be perceived as rejection by Hope. But I’ve stewed inside.
I’ve been angry that someone could treat a child the way Hope was treated. I have vigilante fantasies about slowly hurting the people who have hurt her. Hey, just being honest, here. I’m heartbroken that she’s struggled so much to cope and learn skills to deal with her trauma, loss and grief. I feel guilty because I’m peeved that some of these details weren’t shared with me before hand or were just characterized quite differently; I hate that somewhere in the emotional swirl that I feel like I was duped. It wouldn’t have made any difference in knowing that Hope and I were a match; I’ve known she was the one nearly from the first time I saw her picture. I just wish that agency folks could be more transparent sometimes.
I have a lot of self-doubt about whether I can be the type of parent that I aspire to be. I have confidence that I can draw on being a little older, a little wiser and a decent skill-tool box to be a good parent. I’m relieved that even though much of this path seems so lonely—like echo in the darkness at Luray Caverns lonely—that I do have a loving family and friends who are eager to support me. Even and especially the same Grammy last week that I wanted to banish to a remote island somewhere.
About a month ago I wrote a little bit about practicing grace during this transition. It’s hard; it’s really hard because everything feels so important, so dramatic, so difficult, so deeply personal and so very emotional, and this is true for the very high, happy times and the heartbreaking, low times. It takes a lot of deep reaching to consistently practice grace, and some days I simply fall short because I’ve just run out of capacity.
And this is where Grammy swoops in with her super cape this morning. We’ve been trading emails for the last day or so about Hope, her visit, the registry and just stuff. We’ve been pretty tender with each other since our fallout last week—we know that new, much needed barriers were created, but it’s almost like we still aren’t sure where those barriers are yet. That’s probably because they are still in flux and the lines will move again over time. This is the way of mothers and daughters sometimes, and the irony that Hope and I will likely soon be like this is not lost on me. Anyhoo, I told her that I was just so angry and hurt reading about Hope’s history in these new documents and trying to think of strategies that will help Hope and me get through the transition.
Grammy writes back:
Hope will be a journey of the heart for all of us… I’m already praying mightily for the breaking of the familial curses in her family. My uncle always prayed for a blessing over our family for the generations to come, not just those in his time, but those to come and that applies even to the adopted. And how do I know that? I’m adopted into God’s family.
I’m a believer, though sometimes the tenor of conversations about faith in the adoption community feel odd to me, maybe because they are often wrapped in a conservatism that I reject. You can best believe I’ve spent a lot of knee time with God this year, and I know that my favorite associate pastor at my church probably thinks I should book an appointment at altar call on Sundays, given how many times I’ve sought her out to pray me through this dissertation and adoption. But it was something about Grammy’s relating Hope’s adoption to our adoption into the kingdom that resonated with me and brought me great comfort today.
Hope and I will be ok; we’ll muddle through. My family is blessed, and my own little family will be blessed. I imagine that the blessing will come with all the skills I need (I’ll still need to learn to use them) with a heaping side of grace. God adopted me; I’ll be just fine.