If you’ve been following along on my adoption journey, please take the time to click to the new FACES blog and check out my first contributing post.
FACES for Alberta is a new organization just getting off the ground. Created by some new friends of mine, they’re in the process of developing a website and reaching out to adoptive parents and those who support them.
I shared some information that I shouldn’t have. The person I shared it with then used that information to their advantage, in the process, making it obvious that I had shared the information in the first place.
As I lie here in bed wondering how I could have been so stupid, I realize that it is my faults that are also my biggest assets.
I am too trusting, I always have been; I want to believe the best of people and I can’t fathom how anyone could purposely hurt someone in order to benefit themselves. It’s this quality that gets me burned, time and time again, but it’s also this ability to trust that allows me to open my heart and let people in. It’s also the reason I’m an optimist and how I’ve won some big emotional battles.
I am mothering. I put myself into compromising positions because I believe someone else will benefit from my guidance and experience. Often this makes me vulnerable to being taken advantage of, but the same as being too trusting, this also has its upside. If I did not have that mothering/nurturing nature then I wouldn’t have the patience required to guide, teach or mentor as is my passion for helping people reach their full potential.
If I didn’t have these qualities then I wouldn’t be who I am, so in the end I suppose I’d rather be true to myself than change.
As I inch my way closer to becoming a parent, I find myself struggling with feelings of inadequacy and a lack of self confidence. For years, I’ve been listening to my friends talk about raising their children. They’re so far ahead in the game that I’m not sure how I’ll ever stack up as a new parent. I know it’s not about comparing my successes (or my children’s) to theirs, but I feel as though I’ll struggle with the unsolicited advice and explaining to those around me how raising a child who has been neglected or abused is so much different than raising a child born to you.
I will likely have lower expectations of my children then I would a biological child. For a traumatized child, even the basic acts in life can be a challenge. My expectations need to be reasonable and achievable. There simply isn’t any comparison between a child who has been adopted and one who has not. For an adopted and/or traumatized child, feeling secure in a family, managing emotions and trying to understand why “this” happened to them take up the majority of their plates. At the end of the day, there isn’t much time left over to be the star basketball player or humanitarian of the year. Making it through each day without a meltdown is a success.
I will need to learn to trust my gut. To keep my confidence as a parent high, expectations of my children reasonable, and to shut out the voices of the people around me who think they know how it should be.