Adoption? My Head is Spinning! (Part 3)
Part 3: A New Normal
Once you bring your new child or children home you will probably have high hopes in finding your new normal. You will have thoughts about how they will assimilate into your family, how relationships will develop and deepen, and even how you will work through the specific difficulties or rough spots you are anticipating. This might be where I started to hold my expectations with closed hands. I believed I could really take control at this point. Boy was I wrong! There is so much to learn about your new child and about yourself in this process. You cannot expect to fix everything or even be able to foresee everything. And timing! There is no way to know how long it will take for healing to happen, new routines and expectations to be understood, or old, unhealthy habits to be broken. Steady the course! PS These changes may need to take place in you or the child.
There are times when your interactions and experiences will knock you off your feet. There were times when a conversation with my boys would take me to my knees. Like the night one of my boys asked me about his birth mother out of what seemed like nowhere. As I was putting him to bed one night he asked if I know his, “Other mom, my mom from before.” The conversation went on for a good 15 minutes and was very healthy for all of us but I sure wasn’t expecting it!
There were also times when a sweet conversation warmed my heart and took my breath away in a ‘never want this moment to end’ kind of way. One night at the dinner table my other son shared that he wanted to play a family game with his sisters after dinner. “What is a family, Isaiah?” I asked. Smiling from ear to ear he replied, “We are a family mommy.”
But I would venture to say that none of my expectation were met when it comes to working through behaviors, building new bonds, breaking bad habits, and new habits being established. It all took wayyyyy longer than I expected and that creates an enormous amount of frustration. I felt ready to give up, throw in the towel, and even lower my expectations at times. Looking back, if I had held my expectations with open hands, it would have been much easier to adjust them. The more loosely you grip your expectations, the easier it will be to use your hands and stand back up.
Some might say don’t have expectations at all. Take one day at a time and try to enjoy the ride. I would say, have expectations but hold them with an open hand. Pray over them often! And don’t allow yourself to be derailed when things don’t go exactly how you had envisioned.
Expectations give you goals, deadlines, and help you to find your next step, but flexibility is crucial. In the same way, know your true why for adopting. If you have a strong, healthy why then the unexpected turns in the road won’t stop you in your tracks. They will simply lead you to your best destination whether you saw it coming or not.