Wednesday, March 2, 2011

We're Not a Normal Family

Typically, I embrace our 'un-normalness.'  We've been un-normal to some degree our entire married lives (and I was definitely un-normal before that!).  Usually, I like to celebrate our different choices and circumstances.

But I'm tired. And some days I just really wish we were ... normal.

Normal people don't invite children with a history of trauma into their homes.  They don't have to deal with the consequences.

And there are consequences.

Because even the "best" adjusted child has issues - sadness, anger, control, other... Because the past isn't erased by the present.  Because change, even if positive, is hard and can be damaging in its own way.

So those consequences come out in all kinds of ways.  Some are very in-your-face and scary.  NOTE - we are very fortunate - I am NOT talking about these kinds of struggles (see, e.g. When It's Not "Bad Enough".  Please don't worry, we are truly fine.)

But other consequences are quieter.  Many I don't even notice until... until I can't NOT notice. These little things that build up over time.  Passive-aggressive behavior, lying, control issues, general bone-headed-ness...  Irritating, survival mechanisms.

I know what you are thinking.  "Normal" kids have these issues too. And that's true.  But it's just not the same.  I don't know how to explain it any more than that, but unless you are an adoptive parent, I just don't think you'll understand. So, it's my blog - take my word for it. :)

And I know what else you are thinking - sure, that stuff is annoying, but it's part of parenting. It's pretty minor. Get over it.

I completely agree.

Some days are easier than others.  This week has been hard for me.

Because the little stuff DOES weigh me down.  To the point where I feel crazy, and certainly don't act like the mom I want to be.

And there is this underlying feeling that you can't talk about this stuff! Don't be negative - you don't want to discourage anyone from adopting (I don't!). You can't complain - you chose this!  And... the ever-present mommy guilt. Sigh.

The truth is, adoption is not all sunshine and roses.  It has brought out some of the absolute worst in me.  And it's disheartening to see how ugly I am. :(

I love (love LOVE) my kids. I don't for a second regret how we have built our family and I wouldn't trade any of it.  But it's not always easy - in fact, often it is hard.

We aren't normal.


  1. Oh Man! Have I had one of THOSE weeks too! Exhausting. Hang in there momma... You are not crazy, just called. And sometimes the call is tough :) You are sure not alone though! Hugs!!

  2. We have not adopted, but on some level I know what you mean because of Taylors situation with her dad (undad) and the way she feels like an outsider sometimes in her own family. Mainly it shows when we are checking in at places where I need to give the kids names. The last name just jabs her in the face. And I feel powerless to be able to do anything about it. As Nick Jr. says "We're not perfect, we're parents" and everyone who parents has a hard day or weeks. I like to think as long as we are able to recognize that it has been hard and we have been ugly and can admit that we were wrong, it helps. LOVE YOU!! MISS YOU!! See you SOON!

  3. You and Mark are so brave, Cat. Maybe you didn't know *exactly* how hard it would be, but you made the determination to build your family in this way and you are so brave for doing so!! Many others (myself included) could adopt but we are not as brave as you :(

    Be gentle with yourself :)