We've had some setbacks the last couple of nights...Wednesday night was my "on" night to be up with Kylie and I laid there holding her thinking about this post. I hesitate to write what I am about to because I don't want everyone to think I'm just a royal complainer. But I think had I known then what I know now, things now might be easier.
The way I think, if this post helps prepare someone else for this journey, then it's worth the possible misconception that we would ever go back and change things...
Every free second since they placed Kylie in my arms has been saturated with entertaining, changing, feeding, rocking, dressing, bathing or caring for her. I have a 10 year old. It's been a long time since I had to do that. Even with a newborn, you can at least do stuff while they nap or play in the bouncy. Not with a child you are trying desperately to bond with. I wish I'd known.
Everyone talks about working very hard so that your new child will bond with you as his/her parents after being in an orphanage. No one mentioned that equally as hard is YOU bonding with HER. Falling in love with a picture of a child an ocean away is VERY different than falling in love with the actual child amidst all the change going on in your and her world. I wish I'd known.
"Sleep deprivation is used as torture during war." I have heard that comment from 5-6 different people since we've been home. Kylie slept pretty well in China. Who would have thought that would be so drastically different once we got home? I wish I'd known.
I've had to learn to forgive myself for thoughts I never thought I would think in the wee hours of the morning. These are thoughts I'm not proud of, but I am listing a few of them here to let you know if YOU thought them, you aren't alone! Things like, "What have I done to my family?", "I can't do this.", "I don't WANT to do this.", "I wish my life could go back to the way it was before.", "WHY DID I DO THIS??". Again, sleep deprivation does weird things to a mind. I wish I'd known.
I never realized how lazy I'd become with a self sufficient 10-year old. I would come home from work, eat dinner, help Jenna with her homework and then we'd all sit down and watch a couple of shows, surf the net or read until bedtime. Now, every minute is filled up with Kylie or Jenna. There's NO time for blogging (which is why it took me 3 days to finish this post), watching TV (explaining my full DVR) or surfing the net (what net?). I'd do laundry on Saturday or Sunday and may or may not get it folded and put away. The kitchen sometimes got cleaned up after dinner and the dishwasher sometimes got emptied, filled and run. It just depended on whether I felt like doing it. Now, if it is going to get done, I have to do it in between feeding, changing, napping, entertaining. Oddly enough, I keep the sink empty and the clothes done. I wish I'd known.
Used to, we'd just pack up and go wherever we wanted. Now we have to calculate nap time, bedtime and feeding/snack time. I can't just grab my cell phone, purse and go. I have to pack a diaper bag and make sure I have what I need to avoid a meltdown. Getting Katie and Kylie ready to go takes double the time as it used to when we could just call Jenna to get her shoes on. I wish I'd known.
So many things I wish I'd known. You just get so caught up in the process that you don't think past getting to the country and getting your child. I wish someone had told me to think about life after the airport instead of focusing so much on the process. Seems that it would have been common sense...maybe I'm just old. It's been too long and I'd forgotten how difficult having a little one is.
Would I really go back to the way things were before? No. Honestly, I wouldn't. Because I remember how hard it was right after I had Jenna. And now, I love her like nuts and my life would be so empty without her. Anything worth having never comes easy. And even though many days I feel crazy and like I'm only hanging on to my sanity by a thread, it's the smiles, laughs and sweet face that make it all worth it.
I know families whose children have integrated right in with no sleeping issues or feeding issues or discipline issues and I'm very jealous of that. But I'd venture a guess that even though so many blogs read of the oh-so-happy-times post-adoption, there are more families who struggle somehow and feel alone. Don't feel alone. Because YOU AREN'T. You will get through this. *I* will get through this (with a little more sleep and a lot more Xanax!!).
In reality, we are doing fairly well. Life is different. But we are learning more about Kylie every day and finding our new normal. I've said it before, adoption is not for the faint of heart. I think every adoptive family would agree with that. But it's worth it. How do I know?