We have now had Sunshine longer than we had Little Man.
We suspected we would have Little Man for a lot longer that we did. His reunification story was sooner than anyone anticipated, it was successful, and not many people thought it would be.
Sunshine on the other hand, was supposed to be with us 30-60 days tops. In fact we were originally told not to worry about finding childcare/school for her come September because she wouldn't be here. We don't know how long we will have her now and I've learned to not even guess.
Little Man, at 7 months, was easy to love. He was sick a lot which was really hard- but he was cuddly and needed us, and while you know there were things going on in his brain and heart, he didn't have the words yet so he just clung to me. He never yelled at me or said "I hate you".
Our boys loved him immensely and still do.
Sunshine is almost 3. Sunshine is extremely articulate and verbal and smart. Sunshine has a broken heart and it is manifiesting in her behavior. She will fight us on every "no", "not right now" or anything else she doesn't care for. She will scream bloody murder, hit me and yell boldly in my face "I want my OTHER Mommy". She does things to tick of my boys on purpose and bless their hearts they are trying so hard to be patient but even they are over it at the end of most days.
It is exhausting in every way imaginable. She is not always so easy to love.
Yes it's the trauma she's endured.
Yes it's not her fault.
Yes it's sad and not fair.
But it's where we are.
After she yelled at me earlier I really just wanted to walk away but I fought my instinct, relied on what I knew instead of what I felt and scooped her up and said:
"I know you're mad, I know you're sad and I know you have a lot going on in your little head and heart and I am sorry and I love you no matter what"
With Little Man I felt physically secluded because of all the sickness he had that kept us from going places.
This time around I feel emotionally secluded. I'm just below the surface trying to come up for air every now and then and reaching out to whatever I can grab.
Parenting kids from hard places is hard. It's okay to not be okay and it's okay to feel both love and anger at the same time.
Here are 3 things I've learned
- You can't do it with just love. You're not enough and love isn't enough. You have to equip yourself with knowledge and resources- whatever that may look like.
- It's okay to take breaks. It's okay to get respite, it's okay to be excited for school to start, it's okay to want to run away every now and then.
- The sweet moments in between the hard moments will be what get you through the day. The "I'm sorry" the "I love you" the gentle eyes at the end of a long day. And the emails from bio families thanking you for what you're doing.
She's loveable. She IS sweet. She is smart and funny and silly. She is brave. She is a fighter and when she's gone I will miss her.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Galatians 6:9 NIV