You Were Right
As I reviewed one of my old blogs this morning, I came across the most emotionally charged post I have ever written. I wrote it about 3 weeks after we returned to the United States after adopting our kids. Though it is quite possibly the shortest post I’ve ever written, it still remains the most emotionally charged post I’ve ever written.
I found myself in a place where there was so much I wanted to say, so much I wanted to scream, so many things I wanted to share…yet I couldn’t find the words for any of it. This picture and this moment encompassed all of it, though. It hit every single emotion I was feeling. It captured the many years of sheer hell all of us had been through. Everything was suddenly fused together. Most importantly, this picture reflected every reason why we kept going, even when it was really, really hard. It still does.
Instead of writing a novel that day, I closed my office door and cried bitter hot tears of anger, resentment, defiance, grief, and relief. Then and only then could I finally write the two sentences below.
“To those of you who told us this boy was really not our son, that he was just a wild animal, and he would never be anything different, it looks like you were right after all. We’re still glad we didn’t listen to you.”
Then and now…
I cried again this morning when I found this post. Every single word of it is still true today. The emotions it stirs are still just as strong. The sting of those words once spoken about and directly to this child by those who were charged to care for him…the beating in the hall that we were powerless to stop…every lie we were told…the threats made against us…and the knowledge of what would have been his fate had we listened to these people still send shock waves through my soul.
This picture still defies every single one of them. In reality, those who once spoke and did such cruel things could not have been more wrong. This little boy is now a handsome young man who is taller than I am. He is a good kid who is trying with everything he’s got to make good choices, to learn in school, and to be part of the family he loves. Unfortunately, he also still struggles every single day to keep up with his peers, to do things that come so easily and naturally for most of us, and to fight against the physical, emotional, and psychological scars inflicted during the first 7 years of his life.
This young man has also taught me more about courage, tenacity, patience, and grace than we ever could have learned on our own. Anger and bitterness have been replaced with forgiveness, understanding, and peace. My tears today were full of gratitude and hope. This picture and this original post now remind me just how far we’ve really come. They are proof that love DOES matter, how our message is delivered matters, how we parent matters, boundaries matter a lot, and that healing IS possible, even when we’re feeling hopeless and lost as parents. It is especially true when we don’t lose sight of the prize and don’t give up.
Yes, this kid has put us through the wringer. He has turned our lives upside down, inside out, and ripped them to shreds more than once. He has tested every boundary, shouted every vulgarity, pushed every button, and scared the living tar out of me more times than I can count. He has forever changed my life both for better and for worse. He has been one of my greatest teachers. He has forever changed me.
He isn’t some kind of magical exception. I’m not an abnormally gifted guru or trauma whisperer. I’m just a mom who got on the roller coaster, held on for dear life, and fumbled and stumbled just about every step of the dance. I’m also a mom who is forever thankful I listened to my gut, figured out what to hold on to, what to let go of, and has kept trying to find the right answers for us.