Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fear

My favorite blogs are the honest ones. Not necessarily the messily honest ones that are so raw that you want to look away but the ones that present with clarity the hard truths about life, specifically about adoption. I'm never inspired by the "oh, isn't my life just peachy" blogs.

Here is some honesty. It may be messy. Look away if you need to. This is not an inspiring post but it is an honest one.

I am afraid of not having what it takes as a mother. I feel like I am a decent mom to our first child. We have a rhythm to our days. We have rituals with each other. Life feels comfortable. Our relationship is easy. We know each other. Abe checks in with me all day long, even if he's busy playing. We are connected. We've known each other since he was nine months old.

This morning in the middle of an argument with my husband (yes, we argue sometimes), all my fears about being mother to our next child came spilling out. What if I can't handle the language barrier? What if she won't bond to us? What if we don't bond to her? What if she and Abe don't bond as siblings? What if that connecting thread of love never forms? What if I don't know what to do when she's having tantrums? What if I can't comfort her when she's grieving? What if I haven't done enough reading or at least haven't read the right books yet? What if she sees every area where I'm lacking, meets our Ethiopian friends and decides she would rather live with them? What if she hates us? What if I fail?

I'm sitting right now in the big purple chair that is in Abe's room. When this next child comes home, this is probably where her bed will be, at least in the beginning. I'm physically filling the space that she will occupy perhaps later this year. I want to be able to look back at this day and remember these fears.

Ted has no fears about this next adoption. He has the utmost faith that it's all going to work out. He is nothing but excited, saying that he wishes we had traveled back to Ethiopia yesterday. He is so ready to parent a daughter. Ted is a fantastic father, but sometimes I wonder if he's stupidly optimistic or just plain stupid. When I opened up this morning about all of this, his eyes filled with tears, and he told me that he knows that I'm not going to fail. He said, "I know you. You won't be able to do anything but love this child."

Please don't get me wrong: I want another child (funny how writing "another child" feels easier than "a daughter"). I want Abe to have a sister. Abe wants Abe to have a sister. Somewhere deep inside of me, I know that it's all going to be okay, even better than okay. But I also know that the first six months (or longer) can be a trial of fire, and I worry that I won't have what it takes. As a teacher, I've never liked the first couple of weeks of the semester. I always want to fast forward to half-way through the semester when we're comfortable with each other and have our inside jokes and rapport all set. I'm an introvert and have never been comfortable in the process of getting to know a new person. If you are my friend, I probably didn't enjoy getting to know you; I just like knowing you now. It feels similar with this next child, just intensified by a hundred thousand.

So these are my fears. While I know it's probably going to be fine eventually, I'm afraid of the nitty-gritty messiness and unknown of what our next year is going to look like. It freaks my shit out, and I break down crying about it sometimes, which makes me feel selfish which then makes me feel guilty.

I can only hope that my stupid husband is right. He has faith in me and in us as a team. If only I could borrow some of that faith.

22 comments:

coffeemom said...

I know ... If I may... Precisely how you feel. And as I am walking this path now and have been.... Please let me say this and please hear it: what you are about to undertake - this next big step- a daughter ... Is gonna be fine. More than that. It is going to be more than you can imagine. Yeah. The hard stuff too. But Ted is right. I am here. In the trenches. Failing. Succeeding. Seeing glimmers here and there of what it maybe will be w time. Walking blind much if the time. I am doing what you will be soon BUT. You will do itbetter. W more ease. W a younger girl. Makes a big diff all that. Huge.
You. Lori. You. Have. What it takes. Every bit of it. I see it. I know you enough to know. I'm crone age. So take this as crone truth if you will. You have just exactly what it takes.
And I can't wait to shout and cheer and grin for you as you do it. And I'm here for anything else besides.
It's gonna take your breath away in wonder.
Good for Ted. He's so right. Love m

heather said...

coming out of lurkville to say...
YOU CAN DO IT.
everything you are feeling RIGHT NOW is totally normal. i'm waiting on #2 right now as well and the closer we get to referral the more freaked out i become. all those worries are there. i am most worried that i am about to screw everything up. all of it. i was talking to a friend today that is also adding #2 soon and we together sighed a huge sigh of relief that we've both been caught in the anxiety, the guilt, the anticipation of 'another child' just knowing that i was not the only one feeling this helped me relax (a little)
i've been reading your blog for a few months now, and i can tell, that stupid husband of yours is right. you CAN you WILL.
deep breath and day by day.
and you will get to the comfortable part.
<3

Julie said...

Yay Ted. Ted knows. Lori, you can do this. I have faith in you. You have a huge heart. We are all here to support you. Just keep talking to Ted. Discuss how you will handle tantrums etc. Get on the same page now, before she comes home. Adopting a tantrumming four-year old, non-English speaking girl (and her little brother) is, by far, the best thing that has ever happened to me. She will be able, in time, to tell you her story. The stellar being that is Abe Rooney will make her laugh and ease her pain. You Rooneys will muddle through and come out the otherside, happy, healthy and four.

dandiesinthesunshine said...

I love these comments- every single bit of all of them. I also love your honesty in this post and hope that it gave you some sense of calm with the whole "putting it out there" thing.

Lori, you are a beautiful, loving, peace-seeking mother. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be some major transition adjustments for all of you, but you've got a support group out here to listen and send prayers. We all know you will be able to do this- and like Julie said, you will come out the other side happy, healthy and four.

Jill said...

oh, lori, we can have faith FOR you until you have your own. she will probably be just as scared and nervous as you are if not more. you will do just fine. and she will rock abe's world in good and bad ways, but you will come out the other side. you are an awesome mom.

Staci said...

You are a special woman, Lori. And you are enough. Thank you for your brave and honest words.

The Albertsons said...

see, here's the thing. Well, a few things. I'm just going to write from my perspective, in hopes that i don't upset you.
Each time we added a kid to our family, we were pretty stupid. And each time we added a kid to our family, we had no, NO clue what we were doing. None whatsoever. So I'm going to stray a bit here and say, from my experience, you WILL fail. and Ted IS stupid (said lovingly :). If we set ourselves up to think that we have it all together, our ability to spiral out of control will gain even more power. If we're realistic with ourselves as moms, we'll know that mothering comes with the good and the bad. Knowing that we're pretty stupid to take these risks, and knowing that we will fail multiple times, will make the love that comes (with hard work) even sweeter.
With each of my kids it took a long, long time to learn from my failures. Slowly but surely we came to know each individual a little better. But we couldn't see what we were doing wrong, or how, until we fell down a bit. We were stupidly learning, but at least we were bouncing in the right direction.
So, stupidity and failure are okay. They lead us to learn, to grapple, to search, to understand what works and what doesn't. But most of all they lead us to learn from our mistakes, and then we take more risks... which brings more love in to our lives.
It's all worth it. So you should have lots of faith, even stupid faith :).
Love you friend.
b

stephanie said...

Change the names around and this post could have been mine. Well, except for the good writing and all. I worried constantly about adding Eyasu to our family. My eye twitched for months (funny how it has resurfaced). Jason was exactly like Ted. And you know what? He was pretty much right. I mean we're only 2 weeks into it, but even so, all that fear was kind of silly.

Now don't get me wrong, there is some really tough stuff. The tantrums suck the biggest suck that ever sucked. And it's daily. But the noise I hear in my house of my two habeshas makes that suck so much easier to withstand.

And remember, you've got a whole community behind you.

Carol said...

Lori - speaking as another member of the crone-age crowd, I can tell you the hard days, the days that make you question yourself, pale in comparison to the wonderful days. I think the secret is EVERYONE feels fear part of the time - questioning what we are doing keeps us real. It will be OK and we're all out here cheering you and your family on.

Kerry said...

On the plane to pick up my son from Ethiopia I finally figured out what I was feeling was FEAR, so different from every other emotion, and one that I feel so rarely that at first I didn't even recognize it.
Eventually I remembered that the decision to add our son to our family was made over many months (years?) and what I was feeling in a time of stress was not as important as the well-thought-out, beaten-to-death decision made when my mind and heart were clear. This epiphany did not take the fear away, but it diminished it to a "I can actually sleep" level.
Eight weeks into being a mother of two I can say, it has been so, so, so hard but I have never once thought, or even come close to thinking, that the adoption was a bad choice.
Trust Ted and trust yourself. You made this decision with a clear mind and heart. Yes, you are scared, but you don't strike me as the type of woman to make decisions based on fear.
Kerry

roadtoethiopia said...

I think that we all fail as parents sometimes. It's what you do with that failure that counts. If you pick yourself up and learn from that failure than you will be a better person and a better parent. I guess what I'm saying is that it's okay to fail but not to give up.

I am only adopting an infant but it is still a scary thing that will, I know, change our family forever. I worry about many of the things that you do. I worry about having enough time to give my son the attention he is accustomed to. I worry about making us a family of four.

Adoption is not for the faint of heart. I've had a biological child and it was so much easier. This is hard and in the long run I know it will make me a better person but all the "ifs" are enough to drive you insane. Have faith Lori, you can do this...even if it makes you a little crazy.

-Another Crazy Lady

PVZ said...

Lori: I do not have the wisdom or experience of any of these other women, all I can say to you is what I kno=w of you, and Ted, and who you are if I could pick a Mom to adopt me it would be you. Your life sings.

kristine said...

Well obviously there is a reason you and Ted are together. Both of you are right and neither of you is stupid. He's right, it will be better than fine. You're right, you will fail in every way over and over and over again.

When were you led to believe that failure is wrong? Our children will fail over and over and over again too. Who else is going to show them that when we mess up we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off (cue the big band...) apologize to everyone within earshot and then do better next time.

Seriously if you're not failing on a daily basis than you are one; not trying hard enough, two: very boring and three: cannot be my friend.

OK kidding on the third one, i would still love you if you were perfect but it wouldn't be as much fun.

You are so right about the sweetness and light blogs...

Friend, you are treasure to so many. You will be a treasure to your daughter too and there is nothing you can do that will make it otherwise.

Cindy said...

I know that you will be an amazing mom to your future daughter.
I agree with others that as parents we fail all the time! I know that I do. I also struggled a lot when we were in process the first time (and this time as well!) with how life would be. I am so grateful for the honest blogs out there because I know they helped me be at least a teeny tiny bit prepared for what we were getting into. It is messy and hard and it will all work out beautifully in the end.
Sending happy thought and good wished your way!
Your sweet post inspired me to write on mine about what I have learned through toddler adoption. I appreciate the inspiration!
http://thesweetestthing-family.blogspot.com/2010/06/what-toddler-adoption-has-taught-me.html

Cindy said...

I hope it is okay that I linked back to your blog.....let me know if it is not!!

Bonnie Nieuwstraten said...

Okay Lori, I should be fixing dinner, but I read your post and my heart just stopped. I have never even met you and yet I identified with EVERYTHING that you said. Thank you for being honest. I very much dislike the perfect people blogs. Yuck! I am 5 months into the trenches right now, and let me just say - you will fail at times, but that's okay. That's where grace abounds!! When I was pregnant with my second child, I would lay awake and wonder...how will I love this child as much as my first? The very second he was in my arms, ALL such fears were gone. When we had our referral for Grace, I would lie awake and wonder.....can I love a third child as much as my other two? And a toddler who is wounded and doesn't speak my language? The second she was in my arms ALL the fears were gone. I actually laughed! God is good as SO much bigger than all that. And He has called you to this and He will provide abundantly. Yes, Abe will be jealous - that's totally normal and actually good for him! See my last post for some of the sibling craziness at my house right now. Yes, it's hard, but it's good hard and it's worth it!!

Meg said...

Hello, I linked over from Cindy's blog and am so glad I did. We're waiting for sibs (just about 8 months) and your fears are my fears. The closer we get to a referral the more intense the fear/guilt become. I too have a "stupid" husband who thinks it will just all work itself out -- I have him read these 'honest' posts periodically for a little reality check from time to time =) Thank you for your honesty, as a Waiting PAP I need to hear it: the good, the bad, the ugly...the stupid =)
Meg B
by-dirigible.blogspot.com

Shannon- said...

Being an introvert I can sooo relate to that panic. No worries. Let it go. It will go away soon enough. Your husband is stupid.... and right! You can do this. You have eachother. It is got to be scary as all get out.. but.. remember - it was scary the last time too- it just got covered up by all the other 'unknown' and 'exciting' stuff. You'll all do great and be a family!

Lori said...

I can soooo relate to this Lori.
While I want to say everything will be fine, sometimes things aren't fine. But you will be able to handle what God gives you.

Goodness knows things were difficult for us when in country. But it's a spec of sand in the realm of time. And it makes me almost chuckle to look back on my fear.

If I only knew then what I know now it would have eased all my fears...

You my dear will be a fantastic mother to two children. That is a fact!

ps.. now i know why you made the comment you did on my picture. the bond between them is indestructable.

Lori said...

I can soooo relate to this Lori.
While I want to say everything will be fine, sometimes things aren't fine. But you will be able to handle what God gives you.

Goodness knows things were difficult for us when in country. But it's a spec of sand in the realm of time. And it makes me almost chuckle to look back on my fear.

If I only knew then what I know now it would have eased all my fears...

You my dear will be a fantastic mother to two children. That is a fact!

ps.. now i know why you made the comment you did on my picture. the bond between them is indestructable.

More Dorrs said...

Lori, my friend, this post brought tears to my eyes. It reminds me so much of what I love about you -- your honesty.

You are thoughtful, honest and real. These are qualities that can bring out the positives, but they can also shed light onto the yucky stuff too. Your daughter will need you to have those qualities, and they are three qualities which you excel in.

You have Ted, you have Abe, and you have us. We won't let you fail. You have helped so many and whenever you need it, those many will gladly return the favor.

Beka

Claudia said...

Im' late to reading this. But like others have said - you are both right. Expect a truly spectacular failure. And somewhere along the way, I think the spectacular goes away, and the failure goes away, and it just feels... normal. And that's the most spectacular thing of all.

What would we DO without the warnings, though? If I hadn't had warnings from others who had gone before, I think my initial panic would have turned into total nervous breakdown. I've learned so much just from reading these comments!