I have a tendency to state things rather dramatically, especially when emotions are running high.
Today, I need to say these words, even though I know they’re illogical, not true, and completely for “theatrical effect”:
“I have wasted 14 years of my life!”
An adoptive parent once said to us …
“All adopted kids must rebel at some point.” As newly adoptive parents in 2000 we figured, Nah, we’re going to be different. We will talk openly about stuff, engage them in conversations about their true feelings, and head off any potential rebellious attitudes and actions!
What was the point of the last 14 years if it’s all being thrown away now in rebellion!
Parents work hard to instill their values, beliefs, and love into their children. Biological kids, for the most part, can accept these things freely. Developmentally we recognize our kids need to go through a time where they know what has been taught to them, and decide if they now accept it as their own. I don’t believe it needs to be a major meltdown, rebellious moment. If we as parents accept it as part of their maturation, we can guide them through it and help them retain a good amount of what we hoped to instill in the beginning.
With adopted kids, that doesn’t work as well.
All the wiring is a bit tangled due to trauma in the early years. Messages of encouragement are received and processed as threatening. Love is rejected. Values are challenged and possibly never accepted. I now realize, we have been holding our collective breaths, wondering, Is anything sticking? It seems to be today … oh wait, no it’s not.
Frustrating, for sure.
And once again I ask, was it a waste of 14 years?
I set my drama aside. I see the lie in the question. I recognize the dramatic emphasis making it seem so much worse than it probably is.
I think of where the one daughter we’re most concerned with could be if we hadn’t taken her in. How she might have been abused, neglected, denied a good education, not knowing or seeing the love a family – even an imperfect one, like ours – can offer. She also could have been denied the chance to be exposed to a solid spiritual grounding.
We’ve tried to do all that, but – yes – right now, it is being rejected. It appears she needs to go through the rebellion. Not necessarily because we did anything wrong.
She just needs to.
My heart and spirit have been broken time and time again over the last 14 years. This time, I must say, it hurts the most. I’m trying to not let that “did we waste 14 years?” question settle in my mind and take root. It’s not true. My husband and I provided a tremendous amount of good over these 14 years. I won’t hold my breathe anymore, but I can hope and pray the good we taught takes root.
No, the years were not wasted.