On Friday I was camped in a coffee shop for awhile. This is what was stirring in my head:
Yesterday I had the privilege of soaking up two dear friends for hours. They are the kind of friends who understand my kids, love me (even the parts they don't understand) and we can be painfully honest about life and how much it can sometimes utterly suck.
As always, our conversation turned to adoption. As always, we nodded in agreement as we talked about how we've become "those" adoptive parents we swore we would never become. As always, we understood why others sometimes look at us as anti-adoption or jaded, where we simply see adoption with much more reservation, preparation and strong, firm boundaries.
Some of you just read that paragraph and thought, "Wha? You totally lost me." Others are agreeing so firmly they are rattling their eyeballs out of their heads right now.
We talked about international adoption and how it adds an even deeper level of loss and pain when a child is placed in an adoptive home. Plenty of pain and loss exists - even with infant adoption - but is compounded when a child is placed internationally. It had extra meaning to me, as I had been thinking about the very same thing.
Wednesday I nestled in at the Austin airport, surrounded by plenty of ink and piercings and dreads and weird clothing. There was also an array of sensible shoes and grandma hair and business suits, but it's Austin. Those people didn't stare at me. They're used to me. They're used to ... whatever.
I landed in Boston and found myself befuddled as to where the heck the rental car shuttle buses were. Once I finally ... slowly ... found myself inside said rental car, the sky had exploded in a horrendous downpour. There I sat, in a car I had never driven, trying to figure out wipers and lights. Trying to navigate myself out of Boston in the pouring rain. Looking carefully to make sure I didn't need toll money for anything, only to find out (en route) that I needed toll money.
The roads were different. The signs were different. The layout of the city was different. People honk up north for everything. Not just if they are about to crash. They honk just to say, "Hey, in case you're gonna' move over, I thought I'd let you know I'm already here." And again - pouring rain.
I still have a lot of panic and fear around driving in the rain since an incident (read: accident) that happened several months ago. So, the whole situation was compounded. I was in sensory overload.
The area of New Hampshire I was visiting does not get a lot of ... me. So, there was an excessive amount of staring. I'm used to it, in some areas of Texas, sure. It was just one more little bit of "I'm not from here."
Yesterday, while driving to my friend's home, I missed my turn about four times. I'm used to flat. I can see a turn well before I'm upon it. Out here, it's beautiful, what with all the rolling hills and thick, lush trees. I'm not used to that! It took almost twice as long as I expected to make that drive. It was frustrating. I was able to enjoy the fun, but there is an added sense of - ugh.
I was trying to enjoy the drive, but I couldn't because I was constantly having to navigate. UGH!
In all the conversation, and with the fact that I'm about to pick up my husband and toodle over to yet another new area in another state, I have been feeling an extra dose of compassion for our kids. I love change and I love "different," but it always has an element of frustration, growth and stretching. Within that truth, I have to remember I chose to do this!
Our kids didn't choose any of this. They've been thrown into it, against their will, and they have all of these feelings and issues. On crack. Times a gazillion. We forget that when we're trying to rush out the door. We can move to another area of the country and crave our Shiner beer, but forget our kids crave their own tastes of home. We forget that certain things trigger them, maybe even things they have yet to disclose, and they are not reacting or feeling any differently than we would in the same situation.
We forget. I'm taking a moment to try and remember.