Did you know it is very hard to make dead baby jokes after working in child welfare? True story. There are too many true stories that the jokes just bring up mental images you’ve tried to quiet, and you can’t laugh. Puns though, puns are my current favourite. A cheetah & a lion are having a race. The lion says to the cheetah, ‘hey, you a cheetah!’, and the cheetah says, ‘no, you a lion!’
I sent that pun, along with badly drawn pictures of a lion and cheetah having a race, to my daughter while she was at sleepover camp this year. I would like to go back to this summer, please. I feel stuck in the tug-of-war that is all in my head, between me and the birth parents and the kids this fall. It’s no fun sharing your kids, and yet it is rewarding in the moment. Parenting adopted kids is a lesson is selflessness – you are putting in so much love and energy into kids who are so likely to walk out the door at 16/18 and live with their birth parents, or spend their teen years telling their deepest secrets and fears to their birth parents instead of you, or making the birth parents elaborate and beautiful mother’s/father’s day cards while you receive a hastily drawn ‘love you too!’ card. Have I said before how much I dread mother’s day? I’ve learned to buy myself my own gifts and indulge in starbucks the day after or before, because mother’s day is not mine – it belongs to their first mother. Which is okay, and I have spent six years giving it away and facilitating things for this to happen, but last time I checked I, too, am a mother. So I spoil myself, and on the day of I just wish the hours to pass faster.
It seems to be that we have stumbled onto the preteen/adolescent years of creating and exploring identity, and it’s been long enough in a ‘stable loving home’ (my yelling & laziness notwithstanding) that exploring this must feel safe and achievable. Which is legitimately awesome – it’s why we went into this openness thing in the first place, and what is ethical and right and ‘how it should be’.
Except sometimes I fucking hate ‘how it should be’, because honestly I have no desire sometimes to be an adult and put myself second for two people who I find it hard to respect or appreciate. This is why I would not be able to do what I am doing without Jesus – love that contain all of us as parents and kids, without limits or conditions. But even with Jesus, the feelings of jealousy and frustration, broken heartedness (totally a word), and grief happen. Sometimes you just want to say fuck it, you want to just have kids who you gave birth to, or a totally closed adoption, because that seems a lot simpler and easier on your emotions. You have no desire to book any more visits, or to text again the parent who is asking you to pass on ‘happy first day of school!’ messages when they have done fuck all to get that kid ready for school and in fact, have created the very problems that you have spent months and hundreds of dollars to try and solve so that they can have a ‘happy first day of school’.
For some reason, life does not stop moving while you’re experiencing all this; you still have to get kids to school (including the ones who last night were telling you how much they love their birth parents), you still have arguments with your partner, you still have to go to work, you still have to advocate for your kids within the system.
I am glad I started my depression meds early this year (for the winter).