Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Struggle IS Real

Many of us use the phrase #thestruggleisreal for humorous anecdotes or in an ironic manner for inconsequential events in our lives. I've said it many times myself.

But for many kids who've been adopted, the struggle IS real.

What struggle? you might ask.

The struggle to find their "new" identity.
The struggle to learn and use a new language.
The struggle to find and understand their place and role in the family.
The struggle to forge bonds/relationships with siblings.
The struggle to learn to tell mom and dad what they need, think, fear, and worry about.
The struggle to express love.

It is a real and hard thing.

Gia has been with us for over a year now. Many of you who know us and/or see us on a regular basis might think that Gia has attached with us; she's speaking English tremendously well; she seems to be happy.



And those are all true.

Overall, she has adjusted beautifully. She had--and still has, once in a while--bouts of grief that were overwhelming and quite debilitating at first. This was to be expected, and even welcomed, in an older child adoption. The depth of her grief means that she formed deep attachments with others in her native country. And that in turn means she knows how and what it feels like to be "attached" to someone else, which will hopefully translate to attachment with us.

But, she still struggles.

An example:
Lately, she and Gemma have decided to take turns for who takes a bath first. Both of the times that it's been Gemma's turn to bathe first, Gia has had a meltdown.

It happened tonight. Sobs and sobs.

At first, I wanted to say "It's just a bath. It's not worth getting so upset over. We agreed that you and Gemma would take turns."

Then, she explained. It wasn't really about the bath at all.

She told me that what she worried about was that her 2 sisters, already done with their bathing, would start a movie or game while she was still in the bath and she would feel left out.

A year with us and she still fears being left out. Breaks my heart.

The next time you assume that a child of adoption is doing well, keep in mind that for them, 

#thestruggleISreal



1 comment:

quilt'n-mama said...

Beautifully said. Though Wesley is still a toddler, he came to us much more verbal, on target developmentally, etc. than our other children. His transition has been beautiful but we too have these moments of deep grief when I know that the world that was his 2 months ago is totally gone and he's still trying to find a bit of his balance in this new world. Just today he woke up from his nap and grieved deeply, wanting no one to comfort him just sad in his world, eventually he was ready to snuggle and have some hugs but the reality of what is lost is there and the grief is as well, thanks for writing about it friend.