Tag Archives: Adoption Surprises

Radio Silence


It’s been more than three weeks since I last heard a peep from my church on my request to publicly dedicate Hope. I mean nothing. Not a quick email, phone call, nothing.

The last email I got thanked me for letting them know that National Adoption Awareness Month was coming up and they are praying for me and Hope.

The silence is actually deafening. It hurts my ears and my heart.  I wish the Holy Homeboy had built me for patience, but I discovered many years ago that he simply did not wire me that way.


I finally sent an email withdrawing my request. I’m sure that somewhere the Holy Homeboy is disappointed in all of us, but I couldn’t take anymore, so I just pulled back. I’m strong, but this was the place where I drew strength. and it all dried up.

You can’t be strong if you’re thirsty. #ABMism

Each day the silence and the rejection it implied became more painful; each day it revealed to me how we were viewed by our church—as some kind of anomaly. Each day it told me that we don’t fit, even if on the surface it looks like we do. Each day it affirmed to me about how our church’s mission maybe didn’t really mean me and Hope should be there. Each day it just took something from me…it actually stole a part of my heart from me, right after it stomped on it.

Or in this case it's better than no response at all.

Or in this case it’s better than no response at all.

I am protective of Hope. I know I will have to tell her that this isn’t happening. I think I’ll wait until she asks though. She will, and I will deal with it then. I don’t think she needs to know the truth. She’s lost so much already. I can’t bear the thought of losing a church too. We’ll probably still worship there for a while; she enjoys it so very much. But I don’t see myself there anymore. The thought of going just feels…empty.

I hope that I will forgive as the Holy Homeboy does. And that I will find some grace to cope; adoption requires so grace and some days I don’t feel built for that either.


I Hope – Part 3

I hope:

  • That the universe takes care of the kids who exploit Hope’s (and kids like Hope) vulnerabilities.
  • That we can continue filling the holes in her life.
  • That I can find more empathy in engaging Hope’s extended bio-family.
  • That I can get through some more parenting books, taking what I need, discarding what I think is dumb ish.
  • That relationships in my life which have been strained during this process are restored.
  • That my circle of adoption champions continues to grow.
  • That I concretely learn the difference between what Hope can really handle and what she’s just lazy about, ie what’s really trauma related vs. what’s just typical teen related crap.
  • That somehow we can reconcile the past, present and future.
  • That we continue to reflect on this journey.
  • That I can get my eyebrows done more often so that my brow lady doesn’t shame me and chastise me about my brow and pedicure related neglectfulness (Really, who gets shamed at the nail salon? Totally kinda bummed #TreatYoSelf night, smh Yeah, I’m bitter.).
  • That I do better at turning to exercise rather than food for stress management.
  • That I free myself from crazy parenting expectations.
  • That I feel freed from the perceived critical eyes that see me and Hope strangely because of all that’s going on beneath the surface of our lives.
  • That Hope excels in the percussion classes because I secretly (I guess not so secretly) have dreams of riding in the back of her tour bus during my retirement.
  • That one day I’ll go visit Cordoba, Spain to see this mosque that I saw in a picture during an art history class 20 years ago.
  • That I hug Hope more, touching heals.
  • That we are ready for me to resume my job’s travel requirements—we’ve got the reinforcements and next week kicks it off.
  • That God grants me more oodles of patience in navigating the black and white world view of the teenager.
  • That I continue to be able to meaningfully answer Hope’s questions about Ray and Janay Rice and Adrian Peterson, while holding it together as she reminisces about her life.
  • That Hope continues to learn that there’s a whole world out there for her to live, breathe and experience.

I Hope – Part 2

I hope:

  • That Hope is able to reconcile all of her different “Black folk” experiences that cut across race and culture into one cohesive racial identity with which she is comfortable.
  • That her distrust of institutional systems lessens.
  • That she continues to feel comfortable telling me things.
  • That I get the hang of this teenage parenting thing.
  • That Hope is able to really develop a mission and vision for her life.
  • That I’m able to live up to my mission and execute my vision for my life.
  • That she stops going through a bottle of shower gel every week.
  • That she remains excited about her natural hair and becomes excited about her cocoa brown skin.
  • That she knows that I don’t care who she comes to love as long as they treat her right—you know like 57 years from now.
  • That Amazon begins selling legitimate chastity belts (I kinda kid, but really don’t Google this…seriously, don’t do it…smh).
  • That I can continue to have frank honest conversations with her about sex, domestic and child abuse and other topics that I thought would make my head explode but didn’t.
  • That I can get the donated bike spiffed up so Hope can go for the bike ride she’s been begging me about for months.
  • That more brown faces end up on the posters on the walls—just a bit of diversity please and thank you.
  • That our church embraces my desire to dedicate her at 13—charting new territory here.
  • That Hope’s ongoing theological questions and interest in church activities seals her accompanying interest in baptism.
  • That we manage to keep Jay and Bey Crabber (yeah, the crabs are named after the Carters…) alive for a significant amount of time—so far so good.
  • That Hope continues to reach milestones missed during some chaotic years.

I Hope – Part 1

I hope:

  • That the trauma monsters stop chasing us.
  • That Hope is freed from her fears of the past.
  • That we are freed from depression.
  • That our hot tempers cool with time.
  • That our patience grows.
  • That Hope grows up to be confident, self-assured and well adjusted.
  • That the next round of music lessons aren’t audibly painful.
  • That Hope grows to like some kind of physical activity.
  • That one day I won’t be shocked by all the movies that have adoption sub-themes.
  • That I will feel caught up with work, life and parenting one day.
  • That bio-aunt stops sending me chain emails…boundaries, people, boundaries. #icant #noreally #icant
  • I’ll get back to hitting happy hour with some some frequency in the next 5 years.
  • That I’ll be ready for another fur baby next year sometime.
  • That I can pull off a trip abroad next spring for us.
  • That one day I won’t have to ask if the bed has been made or the room has been tidied.
  • That one day she won’t be afraid of so many things.
  • That one day I’ll have a husband.
  • That I am able to model healthy relationships for Hope.
  • That her math skills will improve.
  • That we continue to have therapeutic breakthroughs.
  • That I won’t have to hide my favorite food forever.
  • That I find a spirit of sharing.
  • That my faith continues to grow.
  • That I can meet my first weight loss goal by year’s end.

I Marvel – Part 4

I marvel:

  • That Hope talks all through the movies, asking me questions as though I know what is going to happen next.
  • At how many movies have adoption sub-themes.
  • At how easily she will talk about all that she’s lost.
  • At how hard it is for Hope to have a positive view of the world.
  • At how she has segregated people by race and behavior in ways that upset me.
  • At how she has parlayed what she’s seen in terms of relationships into some really effed up views on gender roles and behaviors.
  • At how deep grief goes.
  • That she eventually comes clean with all her shenanigans.
  • That we have deep moments where we really talk.
  • That I can tell when she’s got a new crush (so friggin obvious).
  • That we have the most amazing and hilarious girl talk moments.
  • That I’m getting better at problem solving.
  • That I finally did volume production of frozen crockpot meals (this development was overdue).
  • That now that a spate of anger has passed the more affordable eye glass frames at Costco look appealing to her.
  • That we’re *still* talking about the teen foolishness that went down last month (it’s really a crucible for us).
  • That she’s into a groove with the nannies.
  • At how joy and pain can still reside so closely.
  • At how much I miss The Furry One.
  • At how I’ve kept the new hermit crabs- Beyonce and Jay-Z Crabbers alive for almost 3 weeks.
  • At how I dropped a couple of pounds this week.
  • At how this squat challenge I’m doing isn’t so bad now that I’m halfway through it.
  • At the stuff I still need to get Hope to prep for the winter weather.
  • At how excited I am to prep for fall break and spring break next year.
  • At how excited I am to start planning our trip to Bougieville (Martha’s Vineyard) next summer.
  • At how a tiny bit of weekend rest can cure some of what ails you.


I Marvel – Part 3

I marvel:

  • That I still sometimes take her anger personally.
  • That I haven’t duct taped the door to her room shut when it’s dirty.
  • When we cycle through dark periods; they always surprise me.
  • That Hope has embraced a sense of middle class kid entitlement so quickly <side eye>.
  • At how kind and generous she can be even as she pushes me away.
  • At how many triggers to rages and shut downs there are.
  • At how exhausted such episodes make me.
  • At how my reactions to the rages and shut downs have changed.
  • At how many times in one day I can say “I don’t know.”
  • That my reasons for saying “I don’t know “ range from not really knowing to praying the exhausting conversation ends soon.
  • At how hard single parenting can be.
  • That I appreciate the lack of need to consult on parental decision making.
  • That I can’t seem to get to bed before 11pm because I need to wind down a bit after Hope goes to bed.
  • At how all of a sudden Hope isn’t mad that I signed her up for drama activities during her free periods.
  • At how she has come to enjoy our church.
  • At how she is finally interested in going to the church youth group.
  • At how she wants to volunteer.
  • At how many food wrappers I recently found under her bed.
  • At how I still hide my special foods.
  • At how rough the transition from being a singleton to a single mom is.
  • At how different this experience is than I imagined.


I Marvel – Part 2

I marvel:

  • That 13 years ago, today on 9/11, I know exactly where I was and what I was doing for an entire 24 hour period, but what was going on in Hope’s life at 3 months old is a complete mystery.
  • At how Hope has evolved from exclusively wearing jeans and tees to leggings, tunics and *gasp* the occasional dress.
  • That we both have heard The Furry One’s barks, nails clicking on the floor and have seen his shadow since he passed away. We only both admitted it and had a good cry this week. (Yep, we are believers!)
  • At how routines make drama lessen and even disappear.
  • At how not reacting to drama somestimes helps to lessen it.
  • That Hope loves Absurdly Hot Therapist now.
  • That my Hope is such a boss at surviving.
  • That Hope is more resilient than me.
  • At how fortunate we are to have locked in two great part time nannies. Both have day jobs as child therapists and one is pursuing a PhD in child psych with emphasis in PTSD. Can we say #jackpot?
  • That I don’t hear stories that start with, “When I was 8…” as much anymore; Hope is moving past her trauma.
  • That my new Fitbit says I am getting 100% sleep efficiency. Clearly the thing is a piece of crap…#notreally
  • At how my faith has grown this year.
  • At the dumb ish 13 year olds are want to do.
  • That I fell in love this year.

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