Monday, May 31, 2010

I'm scared of July 25th

I'm scared of a date on a calendar; July 25th.

The reason that date scares me is because it's the date that Elaina, Evangeline and I came home from Ukraine last summer after spending seven weeks there finalizing Evie's adoption. I thought that by our first year anniversary home with Evangeline we would be well bonded, in love, and that Evie would be a different child and I would be a different mother. I was talking to a dear, honest friend who is also an adoptive mother the other night on the phone. She was telling me that her mantra in her head at first was, 'Let's just get through this first year. If we get through this first year it will have to be better."


June is almost here which means July is right around the corner and between acclimating to four children and Polly's strokes and surgeries for Moyamoya, Evangeline and I have done nothing more than a dance of two steps forward and one step back.

I realized I haven't even taken pictures of her nor the other girls recently. A part of me wants to get through this time and forget about it. I don't want pictures reminding me of the pain and struggle we've gone through in order to mold into a family of six. Most days there is still a tinge of grief.

Sometimes I am at a loss on how to love her.

Oh, we have good days... good weeks even. But overall, this whole experience has
been difficult. Really difficult. Not-what-I-expected difficult. Evie is not who I expected her to be but more importantly, I'm not who I expected I would be as an adoptive mom.

We see light in Evie's eyes. Sergei and I find ourselves watching Evie do funny things or make cute faces and we laugh. "I'm so glad she's ours", we tell each other. She's mesmerizing.

But other times, the times she eats the mop and dives for a pile of dirt on the playground and cries when I pick her up to rock her, scratching my face in order to get away, rocking herself into a stupor, I find myself frustrated, at a loss, convinced I am failing miserably. Surely, another woman could do better than me.

So many other friends who adopted at the same time are doing well.

And it makes me mad.

So, I'm scared of July 25th.

Because although we've come a long way we have a long way to go.

The switch will flip some day, right?. Evie and I will love one another better, more often, in more tangible ways. But the interim hurts. Rejections sucks. Evie and I take turns rejecting each other. And the underlying nagging pain is this: I'm the mother... I should not feel like rejecting my child.

There, I said it.

This relationship with my fourth daughter has brought a new dimension to my relationship with God. It's poignant. It's not wasted.

I am thankful for invisible fishing lure line, taunt, strong, connecting me to Jesus.

And tomorrow I'm going to try again. I'm going to pray for love and patience and therapy strategies and creative ways to engage Evie. We're going to visit a developmental therapist to see what else Evie is dealing with besides Down syndrome (I suspect she is somewhere on the Autism spectrum as well) and see what other help we can receive. I'm going to interview more therapy helpers, students who major in special education. We want someone to work with Evie and Polly for a few hours a week this summer because when I think about doing it on my own I get dizzy.

So I've admitted these things (things I can't say out loud to anyone but somehow I can write it here). I'm going to look my four girls in the eye tomorrow morning, assure them and myself of my love and more importantly of God's love and then make oatmeal and toast for breakfast.

Another day.

Tonight as Polly fell asleep she kept asking me to kiss a boo boo on her elbow.

If only everything could be fixed with a kiss...

(Note: I welcome comments... more than welcome, I actually crave validation and I know that's another issue... but anyway, if you are inclined to comment that I'm a good mom and not to worry, things will get better, thanks, but that's not really the kind of validation I seek. God bless...)


  1. my Ethan turns 8 tomorrow. he came home from Russia just two weeks before turning 2. I still dont feel like we have it all together. Even the kids who came home 9 months ago have a closer and calmer and less tumultuous relationship with me than he does. its just who he is. he is what he is. I try to love him. I do love him I think. but he pushes me away all the time. he wants to go home with other people, or sit in their laps. people we barely know. or inappropriate people. but whether he loves me or not, I carry on teaching him how to be a good person. some days I get through, other days not so much. what I am saying here is I feel your pain. I do understand. it is very hard to live with someone who doesnt reciprocate even a little. someone who pushes away again and again when all we want is a little closeness. its difficult, its painful. and time may not heal it. but if you just get through today, tomorrow is a new day. maybe it will be a good day.

  2. I think you express what most people hold inside! You tell some of the "real" sides to being a parent! God bless you for picking yourself up and going at it again tomorrow!

  3. Gillian, I was deeply touched by your raw honesty in this post. Thank you for trusting us, as readers and friends, with this particular struggle. May you keep on keeping on in God's strength.

  4. Ooooh, that is tough. I had no idea you were still struggling. Come talk to us over on the After the Rainbow group. You know we will listen and love you, right? Wish I could say just the right words to make it all better, but I know better than that.

    It's been a VERY tough year for you, not just the post-adoption but a lot of other stuff too. Praying for you tonight....

  5. I really like your note...

    On a different note, I am thankful for your post, because it was not too long ago that I was still questioning if we had made the right choice bringing Nina home. And because I see how Ellie treats Nina and I realize that she she mimics me makes me feel like a failure and I wonder how many issues Nina could have in the future because she did not feel like her mother accepted her, that somehow she never really belonged.

    If you have read my recent posts, we are making progress, but I am still learning. I didn't know that bonding would be an issue for me, and not just her.

    Hugs friend.

  6. Thanks everyone. This post was hard to write. Looking like we have it all together is such a nagging sin.

  7. I can believe that it was really difficult to write this post . . . afraid of being judged but at the same time needing to get those feelings out.

    I'm a little surprised that I'm not the only one who struggles with these emotions at times - so many blogs go on and on about how wonderful everything is - you already said words that fit me so well - that as the mother I shouldn't feel like rejecting, the feeling of being a failure as an adoptive parent, etc.

    It is getting better, but it's definitely not been the year and a half I thought it would be.

  8. Thank you for your painful honesty. Your road is probably more common than you think and there are many out there whose hearts are also hurting in the same way. Thank you for being vulnerable.

  9. Gillian, your honesty and vulnerability is humbling and a great example for me. Thank you!

  10. Thank you for such an honest post. I don't know if this will make you feel better or worse, but as the adoptive mom of two older special needs kidos, it is the two year mark that you need to hang in there for. At least that is our experience. We still have our days, moments, but it so much better on this side of that marker.

  11. I soooo appreciate your honesty. may I just say that I, too, feel frustration and the desire to push my kids away. its something I've struggled with for years. i had a very sad thought the other day, Mae's 9th birthday, that I've been yelling at my kids for about 7 years now (since Mae was 2, go figure). I don't have any words of wisdom or encouragement for you. wish I did. guess we're all in this motherhood boat together. good thing Jesus is here with us! :)

    love you dear sister! Deanne

  12. Today, Abigail said she hated her brother. I wanted to scold her for it, but I know that sometimes I want to run away forever and isn't that the same thing. My children are constantly revealing the darkness within and I can only take it to the cross. I just want to let you know that you aren't alone, that people in PA love you, and that I am praying for you all.

  13. Hugs to you for your honesty. I have a birth child with some not-yet-diagnosed issues (ODD? Bipolar? Is it possible for a birth child to have RAD?) that make life very, very difficult. Some days, I shine, but many days, I act like the sinful human that I am.

    Sometimes, I think that our experience with him will help us on our future adoption journey. Today, it makes me want to run from adoption because I do not want to experience anything like this EVER AGAIN. Sigh.

    Mostly, I am just so grateful for grace.

  14. I'm so thankful for you, Gillian. Your honesty is refreshing and very helpful to those of us who are dealing with similar struggles. Don't forget that July 25th can be the first day of a year full of blessings and positive changes. I recommend keeping a list of the positive changes you see in Evie as time goes by. It's a nice thing to look back on when you are feeling discouraged.
    I'm praying for you and I'm thankful to have a friend who is walking a similar road.

  15. Geez, Gillian, you act like you're HUMAN or something. You write this post as if you are imperfect and need a Mighty God to rely on for your every need. :)

    I love how honest you are and I wish you'd show it more often. Its completely refreshing.

    I am HONORED to call you my friend.

  16. learning to love achild and having that child learn to love you back is a process, a long hard process of attachemnt. It is not a nagging sin. It takes time, be patient with yourself and with Evie. Hang in there and as the day approaches be gentle with yourself.

  17. We have had a struggle with our younger adopted son, too. Sometimes he's very loving, then the next minute he's angry and throwing things. He's been home for 3 years this month-he's 4 1/2. He went through all kinds of insecurities that his older brother, also adopted, did not. I find myself challenged to be patient, to stay calm, to persevere with him sometimes. It seemed we were doing better, then last month when my husband and I each had to be out of town for a few days, he took a giant step backward-back to constant agitation, refusing to sleep, hitting, throwing is not easy. Like you, I wonder when/if things will turn around. But I can see progress--one year after we came home, we couldn't even go away for the weekend with him and our other kids--he just freaked out. Now, less fear,less terror. But he still craves routine.

  18. Gillian-my heart aches for you and your family. I appreciate you sharing your struggles and I know that the Father is with you every step of the way. It isn't easy to do the next thing.........minute after after day when sometimes you just want to run away and scream. Praying. Donna

  19. Thanks Gillian. Love to you.

  20. A beautiful post. God bless you and yours.

  21. Gillian, Thank you for your honest and vulnerable post! I wish there were some magic date that would signify when attachment would fully occur-for our child and us, but it is just so different for every child and parent. I just posted(much less eloquently, and in the form of a rhyme)about some of my own struggles with attachment. Just knowing we are not alone helps.


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