Tuesday, November 2, 2021

“I mean you chose this so….” 🤷🏼‍


*pic from Zee adoption day April 2016*


Although the words are rarely meant to inflict harm, the connotation is “you chose to adopt these kids so you don’t get to complain”. Let me take it a step farther: “you chose to adopt THESE kids (who have special needs) so you should have known it would be hard when you made that decision so you don’t have any right to complain”.


Yes, I chose to adopt two boys who have special needs. Shockingly when I made the choice to bring home a tiny 5 pound 4 ounce baby who had a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome I wasn’t able to see in to the future and take in to consideration that he would someday be an 8 year old little maniac child who would drive me to the very end of my nerves every👏🏼 single 👏🏼day👏🏼. If my crystal ball had not been broken, I could have prepared myself for the fact that he would one day be the golden child of his elementary school who everyone fan girls over every morning but an absolute terror who screams “NO!” at me constantly at home and breaks into the neighbors houses to steal their toilet paper on the daily. Would a glimpse into my future have changed my decision to give God my yes? No ……but it would have been cool to get a head start on therapy and adjusting my meds 😉.


I don’t feel like I chose Zee, I feel like he chose me, but that doesn’t change the hard. Early on it was an ICU at home and a traveling ICU anywhere we went, along with more doctors appointments and hospital stays than I care to recollect. It was many agonizing hours wondering if he would even live much less thrive. Now he’s more of a rascal than I ever thought he would be and although searching for his gtube (because he takes it out and throws it multiple times a day) as well as trying to keep him from being naked 24/7 is quite a challenge, I would chose him and all of his stuff over again every time.


Bio parents don’t get their complaining cards revoked in the delivery room so why do we insist on having adoptive parents turn theirs in at the proverbial adoption door? I stay puzzled by this question. Maybe it has more to do with social media than we would like to admit. Maybe we as adoptive parents glorify our lives and our little bundles of adoptive blessings too much causing others to think we are some sort of super heroes who have our acts so together that nothing should ever be wrong in our perfectly picked out lives. I would venture to say if that is even remotely the case, it is because we are truly blessed to have these kids in our lives much more than they are “blessed to have us” and we want to shout their worth to the rooftops of the world…..but we would also like the reserve the right to still have it hard….and sometimes to have it REALLY hard.


As biological parents we don’t hold back from telling a friend or family member or the whole damn world for that matter that raising kids is difficult because we don’t have to worry that they will in turn be de-valued as humans……read that one more time. But when it comes to adopted kids who also have special needs or different abilities, their journey to us as their parents is literally born out of the inability for their first families, or even their entire country of birth, to see their value. These children, these image bearers, were first seen as less than, or too much of a burden, or too much to handle, or not even worthy of life by their people or even collectively by the places where they were born. So, yes we feel the need to show the world that they are worth it, BUT, when we show the worth and hide the hard, either out of guilt or obligation or the world telling us we should, we do everyone a dangerous disservice.


Today, the adoption community across the US is rocked by a tragedy. I do not know the family, I don’t know the circumstances, I don’t know the struggles they had, and they may not even be adoption or special needs related, but this has been on my mind and heart for sometime and this seemed like a good time to flesh it out.


Parenting is hard. Full stop. Let’s all give each other grace…no matter how our kids came to join our families. Let’s make it ok to say out loud that it is hard. Let it be ok for parents to need help no matter what. Let’s not take away the right to have it hard from moms and dads who knowingly stepped into this life any more than we would a biological family. Let’s do better. Together. ❤️


Dear mom or dad, if you are in the trenches, reach out for help. If you don’t find it, please keep reaching until you do. We are here.