As I settle back into my daily routine, I thought I’d take a moment and share a bit more about why I’d politely decline an offer of adoption.
Connection doesn’t come easily for me. It is not natural and is something that I have to work very hard for. I was reminded of that this past week when I went home to Bailey’s for Thanksgiving. Here at school, I have one focus–to do well in school. I go to school, to work, and to my house all the while staying far away in my own little world. I don’t’ have to worry about being in a relationship or truly connecting with anyone. Throughout the years, I’ve managed to learn to still function appropriately without being present. It has taken me the two and half years living here, in an unconditionally loving place, for me to be able to enter back into my body, if not just enough to connect at some level. The problem is, I didn’t realize how exhausting that has been for me until this recent trip home. Everything came flooding back–the failed adoptions, my mistakes, how imperfect I am, how unlike kids my age I really am–and some major regression ensued. All of the feelings of jealousy towards Zhanna returned, the 2-3 year old behavior, the need to self-soothe. And then when it was time to come back, the small meltdown. I went from being the 100% functioning 22-year-old to the 2/5/8/12-year-old in a matter of days. And that’s when I realized that I am not family material.
I cannot yet function at a healthily connected level within a family unit and have outside activities as well. I cannot focus on school and focus on relationship. My brain, heart, and body are not yet at a level where they can all work together to meet the needs of more than one thing. Because I have to work so hard and exert so much energy into just connecting, it is hard for me to be in the same house as someone who desires connection for long periods of time. It’s too exhausting and then the regression starts. This was a problem in each of my homes as my inability to connect was taken as mere rejection towards them. They, much like myself, were unable to come outside of themselves and their hurt to teach me and show me that it was safe to come back and connect. Ultimately, if I was in a family setting I don’t think I would be doing as well in school. One or the other would suffer, and I’m not sure I’d be okay with that.
Not only am I unable to connect easily, I don’t do transitions well. Any transition whether it be from having class to having a short holiday break, or from my house to Bailey’s for the weekend knocks my entire routine off cycle and throws me overboard. Each transition takes a few days to recoup…which usually means that for a few days I’m having meltdowns, panic attacks, sometimes self harm, and complete disconnect. Due to the excessive amount of abuse I’ve gone through it would seem that this is all normal, and it is, but I am not a child and therefore cannot behave as a child. I cannot have these days of meltdowns over the simplest of transition and I couldn’t put it on the shoulders of someone else to make sure that I’m able to cope. Bailey, Grace and Becca have graciously taken that task on, as their schedules allow, but I couldn’t put that full time on someone else. It is ultimately my job to learn and to adapt to the changes around me.
The truth is, I may never function at an age/emotionally appropriate level. I may never catch up to my peers. I do worry that connection will always be a struggle for me. But even so, I know that one day I will have the most healthy relationship available on this planet…because I will have worked passed the trauma’s holding me back. That relationship may never be a mom or dad relationship and quite frankly, that’s okay because I may never be family material. Please don’t take that the wrong way either…I say family material meaning that I am not daughter material. I may never have the capabilities of loving someone as I once loved my mom or my dad. I may never regain the amount of trust it would take to allow someone to be my mom and dad. I may always have to be content with a created family of sisters and brothers, and that’s okay.
Adoption is a big deal. It gives people the opportunity to create something outside of the ordinary. It allows connection without blood. Adoption is meant to be happy, in the saddest of ways, and I have walked into too many believing that it was a happily ever after and forever. Adoption is meant to be forever. Walking in, the child wants a family and the parents want a child. There is an expectation that at some point there be a bond created in which a true mother/child relationship built on trust and love is maintained. I know that I couldn’t walk into a family and fulfill that expectation. I know that right now, I couldn’t meet a family with that familial expectation…and it wouldn’t be fair of me to hurt and mislead them into believing I’m ready for that.