You are not a negative Nellie. :) You are not dumping your crap on me. Even if you were, which you're NOT, I'd gladly take it. That's what friends do -- we lighten the burden. Have you ever noticed that we're rarely both having a really bad day? Do you think that's coincidence? I don't! I think that our crappy days and our good days were known in advance. I think that the lengths to which God has gone to make sure that we would both have support will never cease to amaze me. I am so thankful, every day, for the gift He gave me in you. Seriously, we live, what? 200 miles apart? But we never would have met had we not been in China, and we would not have needed each other if not for China. It's a crazy, exhausting, infuriating, blessed life we're living. I cannot imagine how I would get through this without you. (side note -- Jer [her husband] said to me a few days ago, "She really makes you feel like you're not alone, doesn't she?" Ummm, duh? :) )I love this woman, home schooling mother of three children by birth and one by adoption, just like me. We "met" on our agency's forum, and then met in real life in the chaos of O'Hare airport, waiting to fly to Beijing. She and her husband had been there a day already, their previous day's flight having been canceled which caused them to miss their Great Wall tour. Janet approached me, tears of stress and exhaustion running down her face. She recognized me from my blog. We hugged. Our meeting under those circumstances was a harbinger of our friendship--initiated by our shared experience adopting our children in China, and then cemented via email once we returned home. We still have plans to meet again in person sometime...someday...soon.
Janet and I need each other. Our adoption experiences have fallen on the "very challenging" end of the continuum, and our precious children--her girl and my boy--are still grieving and resisting and tantruming their way into family life. She and I both know the pain and the longing and confusion that comes seven months in, when most others have stopped blogging or talking about the difficult transition, while we still find ourselves searching (sometimes in vain) for the few minutes each day that resemble "normal." We know the discomfort of being asked how's it going? and not knowing how to answer honestly. The constant scrutiny of our own hearts and behaviors and parenting strategies and emotions (especially those) as we wonder what we're doing wrong. The paralyzing fear of being harshly judged if we do reveal the daily unpleasantness. The real love we have for our kids and the powerlessness we feel to make them happy. The genuine desire not to deter others from adoption, believing it to be a beautiful part of God's redemptive plan even though we deem it, bar none, the hardest thing either of us has ever done. Ever.
So for any other "Janet"s out there...yeah, even if you're a dude reading this: you are not alone. If your kiddo hasn't stopped crying yet...or doesn't fit the composite scenario in the adoptive parenting books...is more delayed than you expected...has a surprise special need...is struggling to attach...or you simply don't yet feel in your heart what you thought you'd be feeling by now. It's OK. You are not the only one.
As for me (and the real Janet, too), I am relying on this promise from the Lord:
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16There's the real truth. I am not alone, not forsaken, not without hope. There's a wonderful, abundant future ahead for my son and for my entire family. I believe that, deep down, despite the present challenges. I won't quit, and love will win. I'm crazy thankful God saw fit to give me a real flesh-and-blood friend who fills my inbox weekly with reminders of just that.