(I started this post months and months ago, but abandoned it.. It’s no longer timely for our family. But, I think it’s an important message that I need to get out there. If you know anyone who has adopted or dealt with the foster system, I think that this is one of my stronger pieces about one of the struggles that is so real to them.)
I have blogged before about “Mom Guilt”… I really think it’s a silly thing, but I recently fell prey to it myself.
One of the kids did a particularly ugly behavior. I mean it was *really* bad. So, like any modern mom, I turned to the Internet for support. Some people told me that if it were their kid, they’d beat the kid. One or two surmised that I am raising the next generation’s serial killer… We don’t beat our kids and I am relatively certain that this was not the work of a psychopath. But, it also isn’t and wasn’t something I or we could just ignore.
The behavior was likely just a case of not thinking and poor impulse control. That does not mean that it was o.k. Not even a little. It also doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a consequence…we ended up having an extra helper for lots and lots of chores and lots of one-on-one time with B & me, during which the behavior and choices were discussed over and over again.
Anyhow, now that things are a bit calmer, I was revisiting the Internet comments in my mind… One Mom commented that I shouldn’t feel guilt because no matter what parenting steps I am taking, some of it is just nature. And I agree, no matter what you do as a mom, there are some things you just cannot control. For us, we know that D has ADHD. It has nothing to do with our parenting, it’s just a fact. So, the way that we nurture him is designed to help him with some of those natural issues…
And, on top of all of that, we have another layer in our family. The nurture that they deserved wasn’t there when they were little. Our poor, sweet, innocent children went through more than I want to even contemplate. They suffered at the hands of the people who were supposed to nurture them. They missed out on critical bonding time. There are literally connections in their brains that didn’t form or didn’t form correctly because of the selfish acts of the very people who brought them into the world.
There are some people who have told me that my kids aren’t special or unique because they’re adopted–there is one word for those people–wrong!
My kids are up against both genetic flaws and the uphill battle of getting back what they missed out on… And that makes me sad for them. We have wonderful, amazing children. What strength they have. Thankfully, I think they’re blissfully unaware of what they’ve overcome. But, it’s pretty stunning if you think about it. Most of the adults I know wouldn’t survive what they went through.
Children, and adults, who go through “the system” truly have the deck stacked against them. These are kids who weren’t given up for adoption, they’re kids who were removed from unsafe conditions. In even the *very* best situation, they are torn from the bonds of one family and forced to rebuild with another. And that is the best case.
So, I do have some guilt. I often wonder if I am making the right choices. I feel bad for not checking every single answer on homework. I feel bad that the kids aren’t doing more activites or classes. I feel bad when I see them make bad choices. I feel bad when they act out in public. I have my share of mom guilt. But, I think it’s a waste. 🙂 I adore my kids. I am pretty sure they know that. And I am doing my best. And I think that is all that I can do.