Friday, June 17, 2011

Let me clarify

Apparently I've upset at least one of you out there with my previous honest words about our difficult first days home.  I received an email this morning from a bloggy friend expressing her concern.  I think my response is worth sharing here: 

[Friend],
  Thanks for writing and for being concerned about us.  I'm sorry to have given off a very negative vibe in my blog, and knew that I ran the risk of being misunderstood...I just wanted to be honest about how we were feeling.  It was a bit painful to us to have seen adoption and its process glamorized by others, and to have waited with such expectation, only to get to China and face such an unpleasant and challenging situation with our son.  It was crushing, really.  Add to that the trauma of our return trip home and the challenge of reconnecting with the three children we had left for two weeks, and Jiushu's screaming his head off all day long was absolutely more than I could bear.  My frustration and anger were not directed at him, but at well-meaning people who still didn't do a very good job of helping this boy learn and grow.  It's also terribly frightening to bring home a child with so many medical and developmental unknowns, and to have him continue to be so very, very angry despite our every effort to comfort and care for him, especially when I hear of other children appearing to adjust perfectly to their new families before even leaving China. 
 

  I liken this to a mom giving birth to a baby with a serious, and possibly unexpected, birth defect (this has happened to several of my close friends), or experiencing a very traumatic labor and delivery.  The baby is innocent, but the feelings of fear and sorrow in the mother are legitimate, and mom will need time and permission to grieve the loss of her imagined scenario even as she continues to care for her new child.  That's where I was when I wrote that post.  [This part was not in my original response, but certainly marriage, with its equal parts hard work + romance--or maybe it's 80/20 in favor of hard work, is also a fitting analogy.]

  Jiushu is making great progress and is feeling more safe and secure and content each day.  We are performing acts of love and service to him all day long, and understand that the feelings of love and affection may take a bit longer to develop.  I'm incredibly grateful for the people who have acknowledged that this was the case for them as well.  Every adoption is different.  Some of them start off great.  Ours did not, but we know there is hope and joy and love to come for us all.  I hope this helps you understand a little better where I was coming from. 

16 comments:

Willowmom said...

Jerusha, Keep being honest. People need to understand just how difficult this can be - to learn to love a child who doesn't love you back. You keep working at it and eventually everything changes and it all comes together. Thanks for being real. Life is hard and that's OK. Praying for you that each day gets easier and more full of love! Laurie (Been there, done that, it's so worth it!)

petiteblogger said...

I agree with Willowmom. It's so good to be honest so people know it's not all roses. Even with a fairly easy transition, I know that there is still a lot of love for me to have grow for Loralyn. It doesn't just happen overnight. (And jet lag doesn't ever help anything!)
It seems like even with our rather large travel group, about half are doing pretty well and the other half are having different difficulties- either with the child or with children at home, with their own selves, etc.
Praying for you guys, for each day, to see God's blessing and plan in your family grow and grow. :)
((Hugs!))

Shawn & Misty said...

Jerusha,
I was going to write in on your last blog, but I felt that with so many people responding I didn't need to add mine. I felt I should now. I was so very honored by your candid responce. I didn't feel for one minute that you were directing your feelings toward him, but like you said, everyone has this glamorous look at adoption and it sounds so wonderful but when rubber meets the road it's hard for everyone involved. Having lived in Asia for 6 years and seeing the very, very different ways they deal with children in general (even more different are the ways of orphans) we have always discussed how hard it would be for these kids (and their western families) to be adopted. In your case, I was so excited for your son, because I know that you guys are going to love him unconditionally, pray over him, bless him and he will learn how to bond with you guys as you do with him. He will grow to be a man after God's own heart because he is learning what it is like to be grafted into the vine of the Lord at this very young age. I am praying for you guys and am SO excited to see what the Lord does through all of your lives because of this experience. =)

ysexton said...

Jerusha,
I have found your honesty humbling. I tend to want to see life only through rose colored glasses even though I know from experience that it is not. I remember a friend's baby having choleric and screaming nearly 24/7. It was EXHAUSTING! That one hour when the baby slept was such a RELIEF! But it NEVER lasted long enough. I remember feeling relieved that at some point I could walk away since I wasn't the mother. I sincerely never figured out how my friend lived through that first year! I don't know that I could have done it.

Your account of traveling with Jiushu screaming for that day reminded me of those days.

I have traveled much of the world and remember well layovers in Chicago as well as other cities throughout the world. Trying to sleep in an airport is never easy, but to try it with a toddler--impossible.

My hat goes off to you and Vince as you continue to merge Jiushu into your home and family. I am thoroughly impressed. I will continue to pray that this process becomes easier by the hour and Jiushu will know soon that he is finally HOME!

Rita and John said...

You are doing a wonderful job being open and honest about the realities of your adoption experience. And those first days home are hard for everyone, I think. I don't even remember being able to blog then--but I would imagine it could be cathartic and that it would be great to look back on those thoughts later. Keeping you all in my prayers.

TeamOehlkers said...

Jerusha~
I appreciate your honesty and transparency in sharing your difficult transition with adding Jiushu to your bunch. We are going to be bringing home two munchkins from China next month, and we are gearing up for total chaos. Because that is a realistic expectation, I think. When we're smack dab in the middle of that dark, difficult place in adjusting to our newest additions, when we're saying "what have we done?", I know we will not feel alone. Reading and following your journey (as well as other adoptive bloggers who are keeping it real) especially in the really tough moments will keep us going. Thank you for that.

Praying for every day to be a little happier...

God bless,
((((hugs)))),
chris

Doug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug said...

erusha, Vince,

As a person who is now one month away from my own Gotcha day, I am thankful for your comments and your candor - both on your blog and to us directly. I feel better prepared to go to China because of your willingness and ability to share openly.

When there have been difficulties, I have only felt it as a call to pray on your behalf - as I certainly hope and know that you will on pray for us as well as our time approaches and we go through our experience.

As you well know, so we do as well that Jiushu has been fearfully and wonderfully made - and that as your son he will perfectly fit into your family. We will continue to pray as you walk through the issues - trusting our Father and both of you as you parent your son and all your children well.

Doug

lilyfarms said...

I have never been an adoptive mom, but have raised my own whose development/temperment/needs did not always match up with my own expectations or romanticized ideals. I want to say, I felt a kindred spirit with you in your honest post. Any mother who has not ever had a moment of "what have I gotten myself into" has only not yet experienced the fullness of raising and loving a child. In the darkest moments, we truly learn that only God understands and is our provider and even more importantly how much our heavenly father sacrificed in sending his son to us- crying, scared, detached, selfish, unworthy, imperfect creations that we are. You just keep on extending acts of love and you do it until.....

Stephanie said...

Very well said. If we aren't real about our experiences they don't serve to help anyone.
Praying for continued adjustment for all of you. Re-entry is tough!
Blessings!!

Lynne said...

Jerusha,

Well, you know where I stand being in a similiar place but perhaps just a few milestones ahead. You are always going to have well-meaning critics, ignorant judgemental comments, know-it-all advice givers, people pleasing down-players (I get these the most...so many who say, "my bio child did that too"...NO sorry, not the same, just trust me). Most mean no harm and are just trying to make you feel better, some actual do mean harm but all you have to focus on is that your Father is heaven loves you so much and sees the situation so very clearly (even more then you do). Keep your eyes on Him. I have found that He has given me the grace, forgiveness, encouragement, perspective, I've needed to continue on this adoption journey with faith and hope. Those in your life that can't handle your honesty probably have trouble being honest with themselves as well. So pray for them and give them grace and your patience. No one can possibly understand our situations without having walked through them.

Blessings,
Lynne

Debi said...

Jerusha, I haven't commented simply for lack of time. We have a newborn foster baby and well, you know... :)

Anyway, just had to respond to this and let you know that as a foster-adoptive parent of a 4 yr. old I SO APPRECIATED what you've honestly written and how you've put your heart out there, because I could so relate to so much of what you said even though you went international and we did foster adoption.

So, just know I am reading each time you write, and I am praying for you. And, cheering you on as you walk this journey of love. You guys are awesome and I am so proud of you for stepping into this unknown world of love. You are purusing his little heart, while taking care of your kids, your marriage, and your own hearts. And, you're doing it well!!!!!

Big hugs and prayers!!!

Love,
Debi

M. said...

Very well said, Jerusha. I respect your transparency and the risk you took to "live out loud" so that others can relate when they walk those hard roads in adoption. There are always hard roads in life, but praise GOD that he uses them to perfect our faith. James 1:2-4 is what the Lord spoke to me as I walked the early days of adjustments. Maybe it will minister to your heart, too.
Blessings!!
Maureen

Carolyn's Tiny Tales said...

wow, I'm shocked anyone would be concerned?! Honestly, I love your sincerity and think it gives hope to those going through the exact same thing!

Jebmo and Gals said...

Yes-it's not a piece of cake by a long shot. Very challenging adjustment. Many of us have had similar experiences--probably a bit hard to understand unless one has been in a similar circumstance.

2girlpadgetts said...

Adoption is not a bed of roses; it is hard work! I, too, am tired of the "glamor" adoption gets. Frankly, when we adopt these creations in Christ they do come with their own baggage.
I liken adoption to a garden. We constantly need to be plucking out the weeds so that the flowers and beautiful vegetation can grow and bless others. Hang in, there!