But, there was something different this go around with this particular family. And finally, I was let in on a secret that SO MANY other families as well don't like to share. They were struggling when first home. This is not uncommon and that is why I want to write about it a bit in more detail. Why? Because I too struggled when first home with Irina and Max. And I had no one but no one to guide me along. It was a lonely time. Anyhow, this family asked for advice. They reached out to others. They took the advice to heart. They listened. They tried and they tried where others would have given up completely. It was a dark time for them I'm sure.
Imagine for a moment. You save, you wish, you dream for years to have a child in your home to complete your family. When that child comes, she is different. But that is not the part whatsoever that bothers you. It is the fact that she is just not connecting with your family. You're trying and trying and trying but the connection is just not there. Your fearful for her well being, her health both physically and emotionally. What some of you new adoptive parents may not realize is emotional health is critical in these kids. Orphanages can do a number on them. The emotional health can be damaged that it can present in pretty severe physical and behavioral health issues. Ask me how I know? And no, it's not because of this child. Try my own when some of them came home! Alyona was an emotional mess. How did this present when home? Not wanting to eat. She had no stomach issues, she just would refuse to eat. And she was failure to thrive so you can see where this would be dangerous. So, you have families coming home dealing with much, much more than expected and not only that, many doctors do not understand the PI emotional/ physical/ behavioral connection.
The family I was in contact with had tried everything in their power to help their daughter. This is not a case of not loving a child. I want to make that more than abundantly clear. They have loved and still do love this child. They have sacrificed much over the last few months. This is not an easy out. Not an easy path to navigate down if you ever find yourself in this position. This is dedication to the well being of a child. It is love beyond understanding. You are willing to do what it takes to give your child a better life even if it means the child is going somewhere else forever. I should not say better life. I meant to say a family that would meet your child's needs whether it is due to environment or previous experience or whatever.
To tell you how hard this was on this family, the decision to bring her here kept going back and forth. Yes, no. Yes, no. Again, this is not easy. This could be life altering and they knew that. Yet, deep down, they also knew this was not what they wanted for their daughter or their family. They had to try respite. We offered. We have never ever offered respite to anyone. We did not know what to expect. Would this hurt our kids? Would the behaviors be too much for us to handle? Would she even want to attach to us? Could she attach? Would this be long term? Could we provide for her needs? What if she got more sick here? The questions could go on forever. We all agreed she'd come here after our snow tubing trip. I prepped the kids. Told them what behaviors we may experience. She came. I had never met her before. She walked out of that car but I didn't want to scare her. Shoot, scary enough coming to a house w/ this many people. She was clearly a little nervous. Who wouldn't be. The Dad was trying to be strong. You could tell. We talked about her medical needs. We talked about her habits, emotions, etc. they were very helpful. Very informative. If you ever do respite, please, please be open with your family. It is critical. Having honest, open communication between both families is only a positive for the child.
We all got adjusted. We were back in toddler years, diapers and sippy cups. We had none of this as Summer was to be our last. After the first week here, I knew we were all falling in love. But you reserve it b/c it was still unknown. This was a trial period. Would they be okay w/ out her? Would she fit in w/ our family? At two weeks, the questions were asked to each other. Both sides were on the same page. We both had this peace come over us. I can't explain it. I can't. Months later, we still remain friends. She is still here with us. Is the family "over" her? NO. They never will be "over" her. that is not how disruption works. This was hard. I know I sound like a broken record but I want to be clear. We felt tremendous guilt on this side. We felt like we were taking their child away. Their heartbreak was deep. This was a huge sacrifice they made for their daughter. An unconditional kind of love. True love.
All that being said, I want to say one more thing. Thank you. Thank you for the greatest gift anyone can give a human being. A child. I had dreamed for years to adopt a young toddler. Before this, youngest was 3yo and was Alex. He turned 4yo shortly after we got him. So, I had always dreamed of adopting a toddler a tad younger than that. To enjoy those toddler years a bit longer. I had resigned the fact that this was not going to happen for us. Then, this whole situation came up unexpectedly. We said yes, not knowing how any of this would turn out. All I can say is we are undoubtedly forever in love with our little girl. The one full of spunk and joy and life. I have so much to say about our newest daughter. Though not our daughter on paper yet, she is in our hearts. The homestudy is almost complete and papers in order.
I have one other thing to say before I show you our newest addition. This is not anyone's fault. It is not the result of someone doing something 'wrong.' It is not the fault of not enough love. This family will always hold a special place in our hearts. Always. And our daughter will know how she came to live with us forever. It is a story worth telling. It is full of hope, love and joy. I know many will not see it that way but we sure do. And, without further adieu, here is our newest addition:
I had written the above post a few months ago. Obviously, it is official now. I had asked the family if they thought it was okay to publish, if it represented the situation well. And, they gave me permission to write it out. See, this is just one situation. I have been in the adoption world for over 14 years now. I've seen a lot. After such negativity on rehoming recently in the news, it was time that light was shed on how some of these situations come about. I don't want the families who have to make these most difficult decisions to be vilified in the media. It is not fair to them. As I've said before, this was NOT a case of not loving a child. Just the opposite is true. I truly believe Sofie is blessed to have two families love her so much to give her this life. Thank you for listening and thanks in advance for respecting Sofie's story. From here on out, you will see Sofie as part of our family. Telling of her life, not on how she got here. Again, I ask anyone in the adoption community who knows of us/ the other family to respect what has transpired. We all love her and that is what counts.