Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"I knew it was going to be hard, but..."

It's all Baggage's fault.

If she just didn't put up that huge new blogroll I would not have subscribed to several new blogs and I would not have all this reading to do when you all know that I am busy and not getting the work done that I am supposed to do.

I am going to add a couple of the blogs to my roll in a day or two, but I want to write this first. It is not about anyone in particular.

I try to limit my reading to people who are in somewhat similar positions. I avoid looking at foreign adoption and baby adoption blogs (although I have got 'snagged' by a couple of baby-adopters). It is not that I have any judgment about forgein adoption or adopting babies, it is just that there is only so much that I can read, dammit.

The hardest ones for me to read are the pre-placements blogs. The people who have never had a kid "from the system" who are getting descriptions or reading the on-line photo listings (mixed feelings about those). They are full of hope. They see the description, know about the bad, and believe that these are basically good kids (which they probably are).

It is tough for me because I know that sometimes the photo listings lie. I know what Ann's photo listing said, and I know what she really is like. (I still love Ann. I am still wanting to be part of her life. I also know that her photo listing was not describing the girl I knew). It is tough because stories like mine and Ann's or Dan's story of Angel happen. Sometimes there is a kid out there who is so easy to love, in the beginning, who turns out to have that are past what we are able to deal with. Sometimes, like FosterAbba and FosterEema you get "lucky" and learn that it is an impossible match (see their story of Belinda) early, before you have lost your heart.

[When Gawdessness first posted that she was getting some information about Brick and Spring I wrote to Granny and told her that I wanted to call up whatever professionals Gawdessness was working with and tell them that if they were lying to her I would find them and beat their heads in with shovels.]

In the very best case, you get a kid who is no more difficult than you expected. You really did know everything that you should have known. They told you and you believed it. They move in and a few days or weeks later you find yourself exhausted and saying, "I knew it was going to be hard, but..." Like Gawdessness right now, like me six years ago, like Lionmom years ago, like everyone who has ever taken in a child who was previously hurt or abandoned by people who should have cared for them, you get hit with the reality of how difficult it really is, how exhausted you are.

But how many things in life are like that? Knowing and living are never the same thing. I do not want to scare anyone off. If you believe that you can parent a child who has been traumatized, then I want to encourage you to try. If I can, I want to support you. If sharing my experience can help someone to try and maybe succeed, then I want to share.

Still, it is difficult to read the pre-placement blogs. They are hopeful and excited and a little worried. They remind my of my former self. They report that they got information about a kid who has "attachment problems" but they think they can handle it. The child seems in so many other ways to be such a good kid. My stomach clenches and I pray that they really are one of the few people who can handle a RAD kid. God knows we need people who can. I might have been one of them -- if I had not had other vulnerable children in the house. I wish there was some way to prepare them for the path they are planning on traveling.

But there is nothing to say. They have done the reading. They have gone through the training. They know everything it is possible to know before you live it. They already know it is going to be hard.

5 comments:

  1. I was going to post a comment, but then ended up writing a post on my own blog in reply.

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  2. rossecorp6:14 PM

    In my experience, pre-adoptive parents have a very hard time believing what we tell them. I don't know why. I don't know if it's that they want a child so badly that minimize the issues, or if they think we are just social workers who don't really know the child, or what. But I have seen people who are brand new to the system and to the kinds of issues our kids have agree to take "cute" kids who use everything but the toilet and smear feces, beat up other preschoolers, set fires, and act out sexually. I have sat across from these people and tried to make them understand what these kids are like, and somehow, they just don't hear it.

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  3. Heaven knows I can't and don't do RAD kids. I have two friends here in Utah who have so many adopted RAD kids, they said they are growing a RADish garden. The early me, the one who thought love could fix anything? She is gone, killed by a dose of reality. The new me may be more cynical, but is also more realistic. It is shame the learning curve is so steep on this issue.

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  4. I'm one of those pre-placement people. I don't know yet what I can handle, for all the boxes we checked or didn't check, and most days I'm so scared of choosing the wrong situation that if I don't think about/blog about the possibile good and fun things, I'd stop making the choice each day to continue.

    There's a chance we'll be wrong for this. I might be ruining my life. Right now, I can't know.

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  5. I love and appreciate you and all the other foster parent bloggers who give me a daily dose of reality.

    I have finally accepted that I will, with no hesitations, say NO to RAD kids. There's no way in hell I can handle that esp as a single parent.

    But yeah, of course I'm wide eyed and hopeful. How else am I supposed to be? Good thing I have friends and blog-buddies who have been through this before me and can talk some sense into me if I get too idealistic ;-P

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