In preparing for DJs’ arrival, I’ve been oscillating between feeling like I have a hundred things to do and I have nothing that I can do but wait. And I guess, in honesty, it’s a bit of both. At first, there was such a flurry of activity, both mental and physical:
- Spreading the news and all of the joy & gratitude that came along with it
- Discussing plans for the long-awaited “baby” shower that I was starting to doubt I would ever experience
- Wrapping my head around the fact that we were finally coming to the end of our long journey towards parenthood
- Buying favorite books from my childhood like Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic and Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to share with DJ
- Picking out bedroom furniture for “my son’s” room
- Investigating pediatricians who specialize in working with adoptive children, especially kids with attachment issues that Dominick most certainly will struggle with
- Starting this blog
- Calling the hip environmental charter school that you can see from our front porch about enrollment…unfortunately, there’s a long waiting list, even for fourth grade, but it was still thrilling to have a reason to call after all of these years of living across the street
But right now, there’s a bit of a lull which has left me plenty of time to ponder becoming a new parent at 38 to
a 9-year-old with a complicated and painful past. Let me say up front that I’m incredibly confident in our decision to become adoptive parents and know deep down in my bones that the universe has led us to DJ. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have fears about being the very best parents possible. That’s normal, right?
So what does a professor do when she’s unsure? Yep, she reads. Right now, I’m reading this really good book that I would recommend to other adoptive parents: Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge. And wouldn’t you know two of my top fears are among the first addressed in the book?
The very first thing that I’m supposed to know is that my child has suffered a profound loss and (here’s the tricky part for me) I’m not supposed to feel responsible. It probably sounds obvious, but to anyone who knows me, you’ll know that I struggle a lot with guilt. And I know a part of me will always yearn for the ability to travel back in time and protect DJ from all of the hardships he’s faced in his young life. The tricky part, I guess, is accepting that Doc Brown’s flux capacitor is still only relegated to the movies and deal with the fact that I’m doing everything that I possibly can to care for him now and for the rest of my life.
Another early section of the book discusses how children’s anger about the past will probably be directed at their adoptive parents. My brain tells me this is totally to be expected and that I will be prepared for his eventual lashing out at us. But my heart asks what am I going to do the first time that he says that he hates me? Or that he wishes that he could go back to live with a former foster family? Or his birth mom? I can only pray and trust that I’ll be strong enough to know that his words aren’t really about me and be able to respond with love and kindness.
So just some thoughts about my own fears & anxieties. What are some things that you fear/feared about raising a school-age child?
Last but not least, I talked to DJ’s caseworker today so expect another new post soon with happy updates!