I read an article today in the paper about a Minnesota family that adopted a sibling group of 5 children. The couple already had 3 birth children but wanted to add to their family. They acknowledged the difficulties that they face parenting 5 children that were deeply affected by life in the foster care system as well as the circumstances that placed them there in the first place. The details of the article included an honest description of the challenges that adoptive parents face as they attempt to heal their children.
December is a difficult month in our household. After six years of this pattern we continue to be caught off guard every year as the month approaches. For reasons that Tom and I can only guess at our son struggles emotionally and behaviorally. The rest of us walk on eggshells as we await the next verbal attack or physical outburst. I suspect that the focus on celebration and family unity brings a greater clarity to the losses that my son has experienced.
As a parent it is very easy for me to go to a dark place during these times of struggle. Instead of staying in the present I find myself wondering how many years of this lay ahead for us and wonder how I will get through them. I find comfort, however, in the knowledge that there is a village around me to keep me on the right path. The support system available in the Twin Cities for adoptive parents is incredible. My challenge today is to look outside of myself and to focus on mending the wounds and minimizing the scars left behind.
As for the family in the article I hope that they too have a village around them. The task of parenting adopted children is not something that one can adequately prepare for. It is only through my faith, my sisters and a bit of brandy that I make it through.