Adoption and foster care can be filled with loneliness, desperation, and defeat. Can you really find hope in-spite of this? The answer is, yes. It starts by understanding something powerful and true.
“I don’t think I can take one more day of this,” I said, glaring at the table, with a clinched fist and gritting teeth. My friend agreed. Many colorful words were exchanged between us, that morning, as we sat talking in a restaurant. The steam from our coffee snaked and twisted through the air, disappearing, as if hope was slowly disappearing with it. We shared similar wounds. Both of us had children adopted from foster care and both of us were in very dark and desperate situations.
My son screamed obscenities at us in public, destroyed things in our home, and held our family hostage, while his son routinely lied and threatened to kill kids at his school. Needless to say, it was a good thing we were meeting in the early morning, and not the evening, because our meeting location would have been a bar, not a coffee shop.
There we were: Broken…desperate…hopeless…but together.
Together. There’s something powerful about that word, isn’t there? Say it to yourself: Together. It kind of fills you up, doesn’t it? Truth is, the road of adoption and foster care is filled with brokenness, despair and a lot of hopeless days. Let’s just call this journey what it often is- lonely! It’s lonely because most of the world will never understand why on earth someone would take a child into their home, that wasn’t biologically theirs.
Alone, isolated, and misunderstood is a pretty desperate place to be.
The Desperation Of Alone.
The loneliest feeling in the world is to feel like there’s no one in your corner, no one to lean, or no one who gets you and your family make up. We’ve walked this road many times in the past. In fact, the first few years of our adoption and foster care journey, we were basically on our own. There were no support groups, no one in our community (that we had a relationship with) who fostered or had adopted. It was a lonely journey.
We found ourselves isolated. It was suffocating to say the least. Have you ever been there? Feeling as though no one in this world understands you. As if you carry the weight of your children’s past and present on your shoulder. Maybe you can identify with this…
I deal with my child’s traumatic past.
I suffer the scars of my child’s repeated rejection.
I feel my child’s special needs are a reflection of me.
I walk the road of my daughter’s attachment disorder.
I hide away from the neighbors while my son throws violent tantrums, screams obscenities, and destroys my house.
I cover my bruises and scratches from my child’s violent outbursts and physical assaults.
I spend hours trying to help my son do homework that his brain cannot understand.
I rarely sleep because my 2 year old wakes up from nightmares.
I am exhausted.
I bear the brunt of my daughter’s rage.
Sounds and feels pretty hopeless and crushing, right? In fact, your eyes probably fill with tears reading this list because it hits home with you, and you’ve felt the loneliness and isolation from each. But, the truth is, you’re not alone…
The Power Of Together.
To the farthest corners of the earth, foster and adoptive parents stand together. While at times, it feels like you have no one, you actually have everyone. This blog is a testimony to that. We get you. We understand you. We’re in the trenches with you and we bear the same scars and wounds as you.
Together. It’s a game-changer! It’s a hope-builder! Say those same statements from above, again, but this time, place the word “together” in front of each:
Together….we deal with our child’s traumatic past.
Together…we suffer the scars of our child’s repeated rejection.
Together…we come to the understanding that our child’s special need has nothing to do with us.
Together…we walk the road of our daughter’s attachment disorder.
Together…we face the neighbors while our son throws violent tantrums, screams obscenities, and destroys our house.
Together…we uncover our wounds and begin to heal.
Together…we find resources to help our son learn.
Together…we lean on one another in-spite of our sleepless nights.
Together…we rarely sleep, but get a cup of coffee and trudge through the day, a little less exhausted than the last.
Together…we bear the brunt of our daughter’s rage.
Together. Not alone. Never hopeless. Always supported, held up, held together, loved, and understood! That’s the truth about the foster care and adoption family. We are there for one another. We will never gasp or baulk at your moment of weakness when a dish needs to fly across the room or a colorful word needs to be screamed at the top of your lungs. We’re on this journey together. We live through the hellish days alongside of you. There’s an abundance of power when you discover how true this is!
That morning, both my friend and I walked out of that restaurant empowered. Not problem free, but empowered. We knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were in this fight together. And because of the power of together, we would make it to the next day, and the day after that.
Fact is, you and I are not alone. That’s how we can have hope. Together.
Mike and Kristin Berry are the authors of the Confessions of an Adoptive Parent blog and the book The Adoptive Parent Toolbox. They are the parents of 8 children, all of whom are adopted. Mike and Kristin’s passion is to reach overwhelmed, weary, and stressed out parents, all over the globe, with this message- “There is hope…..you’re not alone on this journey!”