I read this post by Jen Hatmaker yesterday and it resonated loudly with me and about eleventy billion other adoptive moms judging from my FB newsfeed. I love it when people are real and honest. I love it when they don't just blog about what a joy every bless-ed little thing is and admit that life often kicks their butts.
I've had all these thoughts rolling around in my head for a while but I didn't really want to let them come out because I didn't want to scare people away from adoption. But I think it's more important to be honest because I know there MUST be others out there in the same boat. I'm here today to tell you that over two years into our adoption of Kirill, we are still barely day-to-day surviving. Yep, you read that right. Life is not what it appears on my Instagram account. You heard it here...first-hand.
Wanna know what real life looks like in the Davis fam? Here's a precious story for you...
Saturday night we watched the Alabama game with friends. Going to friends' houses with Kirill is stressful. No matter how welcoming and gracious the environment, it's still impossible to relax because of
every single thing Kirill does Kirill's water obsession. We never know when he's going to wander off to the bathroom, strip naked, run water, and (if we're really lucky) poop in their tub. Or he might decide to walk around the house and dump every beverage onto himself and the floor. Or my personal favorite, he might dump water all over someone else because he loves the way it feels, so why wouldn't everyone like that feeling?
Anyway, I took Kirill outside at halftime in hopes that he might burn off some energy, come inside, & watch a movie, so we could actually watch the second half of the game. Of course as soon as we went outside, the sprinklers came on and he made a beeline for them because...duh...it's water. Before I could catch him he was sitting on top of a sprinkler head, completely soaked, laughing hysterically. This resulted in Greg and I getting into an argument and leaving early. There's a lot of stuff I'm leaving out here, but just know that we have pretty gracious friends who love us in spite of how we behave around them.
After we got home, put the kids to bed, and talked things out, Greg said the most profound thing. THERE'S NO HANDBOOK. Now I realize there's the Bible...and it's the handbook for life...but you know what I mean. There's no Karen Purvis-authored handbook outlining how to parent a post-institutionalized child from another country with Down Syndrome. There's nothing like that out there for us folks. I can assure you, I've done my research. I'd love to put together something for us...but I don't have time or energy because I'm cleaning poop out of bathtubs and trying NOT to turn to crack cocaine to make it through the day (this is sarcasm...please don't call CPS).
One of my dear friends just moved to Tuscaloosa. She's one of the few people in my life that I feel this unexplainable spiritual connection with...she totally "gets" me and all my crazy. So on Sunday, I went over to
help her unpack escape the asylum sit on her couch and drink iced coffee for three hours. During that time, we start talking about life since Kirill came home. She looked and me and said, "Is there anyone that has gone through what you've gone through with Kirill? I mean, is there anyone that has adopted a child like him that you can just call or talk to when you need it?" It hit me...no, there is not.
If I'm being completely honest, these last two years have been lonely. I'd love to be able to call up a fellow adoptive mom and discuss how to parent my child. But I have no idea who I would call. It's not that other families haven't adopted children with complex special needs from hard places. I just don't hear a lot of them talking frankly about their struggles. Or if they do, they live in a land far, far away (like Kansas) and I can't just pop over to Starbucks and chat with them. Or maybe even if they lived right next door, we'd both be too busy cleaning poop to ever get away.
I know I'm not alone. So I want you to hear me right now. If you've adopted a child from a hard place with complex special needs...and you're wondering if it will EVER get better...YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I understand that it feels super duper lonely. It stinks that there's no Karen Purvis book for us. But, I still have hope. I still trust that God is sovereign in our lives and he's not left us alone. And we ARE surviving...even if it's barely surviving with thoughts of turning to crack cocaine (again, sarcasm...please do not call CPS). And maybe, someday, when our kids learn that poop belongs in the potty, we can write that handbook together.