I’m the mom of three teen boys. The two youngest were adopted internationally from Poland when they were 5 and 7. The journey of adoption has taken me to places I never thought I would go. It’s given me feelings of doubt, and at times I’ve wondered how I was going to make it through all of its hurdles. Since our sons were older and somewhat set in their ways when we came home with them, there was a great deal of work for all of us to do to get along.
I wrote in my journal in order to survive the last 10 and a half years, and when the timing was right, I wrote a book which I just published, From Half to Whole: A Journey to Overcome the Battle Scars of Adoption and Living to Tell About It. It’s the story of our journey; the good, the bad, and the ugly. It tells of my fears, my trials and tribulations to become pregnant and what our journey was like to find our boys. I also talk about what it was like to mesh as a family, which was not always a smooth road.
Last week I did my first book signing at our local library. I was sure only some family and friends would show up, so I went in there confident that it was going to be a small turnout. To my surprise people kept walking in. Some women sat down in the back, and since I didn’t know them, they caught my eye. I wondered if they knew anything about adoption. I was going to reveal myself to them, but would I receive any feedback? The strangers in the room, would they understand the process and the aftermath?
I started by talking about the word “Battle Scars” in my title. It comes across as a negative word for some, but to me, it truly is THE word that explains both sides of adoption. Adopted children have their battle scars and we, as adoptive parents, have our own. Then when the families begin to mesh…well, we all know how that goes! When families try to blend, there is a dynamic that happens that we sometimes have no control over. The children are trying to understand their situation and all that happened to them personally, on a level we may truly never understand. They were left with no parents to take care of them and we, as the new parents, struggle with various challenges we are often unprepared for.
That is why I am advocating for more help for post-adoptive parents, to fill the gap when the agency leaves and you are left to mesh as a family. Help is needed — and it’s needed more often than not. While the struggles of a family with adopted kids can sometimes be the same as any other family’s, sometimes they are much different. As an adoptive parent, you need to find support.
So, as the night went on I gave my story, read some excerpts from my book and did some signings. As I was leaving, I went over to one of the ladies from the back of the room and asked her how she got interested in my book signing. She told me that she was a mom of five and an adoptive mom of two. We shared our “Battle Scars” until 10 p.m., and I came to find out I was not alone in the way I was feeling that night. I may never run into her again, but it was nice to know I was not alone.
Has this ever happened to you? Isn’t it nice when an angel in the room comes forward and reveals themselves to you? Or maybe, you don’t recognize them until days later, but when you do you feel confident again?