And it’s been especially hard lately because I’m not very happy right now. This beautiful story of rescue looks more like a sinking ship at the moment.
I have heard of women speak of post-adoption depression, but at that point I was two years into waiting for the green light to travel and get custody of my son and I shrugged it off as being an impossibility for me. ‘I already love this kid too much.’ I thought. I mean, being sad during the paperwork and waiting–absolutely. But once he’s home, what is there to be sad about?
But here I am. Exactly one month, two weeks, and one day after gaining custody of Ryder, and I am struggling.
I know I sound like the biggest jerk on the face of the planet right now. I have a beautiful, healthy baby boy who is finally in our arms and united with his family. Trust me. I know how horrible I sound. But hear me out…
Life in our home right now is a never-ending battle. The boys are constantly at each others’ throats, which people say biological brothers would do, as well. But this is different. Maddux didn’t have the “warm up” time with an infant sibling. One day Maddux had total reign over all of his toys, and the next, a toddler rolled in and started breaking all of his stuff. And Ryder also bit, pinched, and hit his foster siblings freely in his foster home without correction, so you can only imagine how things are going here. And even more than the broken skin from the biting, Maddux’s broken heart has been hardest for my mommy heart to deal with through all of this. Maddux was so excited to be a brother, but now he just walks on eggshells standing guard for the next attack when Ryder doesn’t get his way.
Ryder’s home country also did not encourage discipline before school age, and based on his attitude and unwillingness to be told “no,” we are pretty sure he was in charge at his foster home. There is a constant battle here between our expectations and his extremely strong will–especially when it comes to food (which is likely the result of his impoverished background). I just want him to realize that we have expectations for his behavior because we love him, but it seems like enforcing expectations only seems to distance him from us and cause him to reject us more.
Being unsure of whether I’m “doing it right” has also done a number on me. Every decision I make, every word I say, every look I give–I am second guessing myself. “Maybe I should have just ignored him and let him do it–he’s been through so much already” or “I just let him off way too easily–he can’t treat people me that.” Finding the balance between enforcing expectations and showing grace is just about to kill me, y’all.
And so, the truth is that I am not a great person doing a great thing. I’m a broken person trying to love a little person with a broken past, and I’m just not doing a very good job. I want so badly to be an amazingly patient and unconditionally loving mother, but this new life has just been really hard. Harder than I ever anticipated it to be. And I feel so defeated.
Then I remember why we did this in the first place.
Folks, I am not the rescuer. I am the rescued.
I am not a hero who saved a little boy’s life. I’m a broken woman who was once dead but is now alive because I was the one rescued.
Seriously, think about it. God has shown me he is trustworthy over and over, and yet I still live in fear. He has shown me that He loves me unconditionally, and yet I frequently doubt my worth. He has shown me that He is the only source of true joy, and yet I’m often looking for joy in every place but Him.
If I’m being honest, I’ve actually spent the majority of my life being a real pain. Being strong willed and battling the expectations He has set before me. Rejecting him when His plans weren’t what I had in mind.
No, I have never bit God or screamed at him in Thai, but I certainly have fought His love at times. But I realize that even in my brokenness, God still loves me. He still fights for me. He still has unshakable patience. He still shows me undeserving grace. And as the rescued, I am to extend that same love and grace to my hurting son.
So the truth is, Jesus called Chase and me to adopt, and because we owe him everything, we did. We are far from saints, and this process has only reminded me of that. But I have an incredible God that is more than capable of seeing us through this confusing time.
As we try to navigate through these stormy waters, we have to stay focused on these truths: He equips us to succeed in our callings. And He has a perfect plan for Ryder that will glorify Him, and we are blessed to be a small part of that.
So, yeah. I’m down. Call it whatever you want– maybe post-adoption depression or simply the result of living in a broken world. But my God has never, ever failed, and my rescuer will once again prevail.
Better days are coming. But until then, I pray… and try not to get bitten.