During both adoptions I had a blog to update our close family and friends and though I felt relatively articulate, there’s a reason Sarah writes the 2 Adoptive Mamas content 🙂 But here goes, as I attempt some thoughts on the most recent podcast episodes:
First up – we are so grateful for the support so far. We have wanted, from the beginning, to offer great stories and resources that are uplifting, empowering, and meaningful to the adoptive/foster mama. We so strongly believe that adoptive mamas need to be validated and empowered in order to raise strong, thriving adoptees.
Next – the realities of mama hood. They hit hard sometimes. Today for example I was so stressed out I came home after dropping off my son at school and stress ate pancakes, I was so happy I cried as I reflected on something that was a not so little win with one of my babies, I worked like crazy during school hours so I had time to be a normal human after the kiddos went to bed, and I watched Elf during the season’s first snow storm, because I could. WHAT A ROLLER COASTER. I mean, my goodness.
And I’m an adult expected to self regulate and have the ability to manage my emotions. This tiny snippet of my day happens to our kids too AND they pick up on everything with us…you’ve heard this, right? They can sense how you’re feeling…read your energy? If that isn’t a daunting thought full of pressure to have it all together all the time, I don’t know what is.
We know that many of you have been encouraged and empowered by what Rosie Mann said about being in the trenches of trauma. We also know that you have been giving us feedback on how trauma is involved in our everyday lives as we love and parent our kiddos. We get it! We don’t pretend to have all the answers, but we are right there with you.
I remember reading all these important books and articles about trauma when we were preparing to travel for our first adoption. I remember thinking about my own education and my husband’s (he is a counselor) and thinking, “Ok we can do this. We have the knowledge!” I still think that, but I am more tired now 🙂 So it gets harder.
We have had some tough tough days with trauma and our littles. We have had hard seasons, some that transcend just days or weeks. We have had to guess at more things than I ever cared to admit. We’ve cried a lot more than I thought we would. And I’ve had to evaluate my own experiences with trauma, my own personality, my own coping skills, and my own sin. And man, that’s hard too.
I think that’s what we want to highlight at 2 Adoptive Mamas. We have not set out on this journey to have real deal conversations about adoptive mamahood just to belittle our child’s experience or promote our own experiences. We have set out to VALIDATE and EMPOWER. My kid deserves the best I can offer as a human and a mom. But I can’t give them that if I’m not healthy myself OR if I don’t understand trauma.
If you’re an adoptive/foster mama reading this and have navigated all the trainings, you know that trauma is not linear. Trauma is not something that ends and sometimes, not something that makes sense. Trauma changes in how it manifests. Each person processes things differently and at different times. And how that processing comes out could look so different even from day to day. Our kiddos have experienced loss, and therefore our families have experienced loss. Trauma is woven into every piece of our family now because adoption/foster care only exists out of brokenness. We can (and probably have) read at nauseum about trauma. And yet every book, blog, podcast we listen to sheds new light because we’re seeing and living trauma in a new way that day.
I think the tendency for some is to see this or experience this and feel exhausted. I mean, I admitted it a few paragraphs ago… I’m more tired now! I AM!! And I think about something Michelle Campbell said in our episode on advocating for our kiddos… she has heard so often people saying “but you asked for this.” Her answer is more poignant and articulate than mine will be now (you should go listen to it!) but I’m in 100% agreement with her answer. YOU BET I DID. I definitely asked for this, pursued this, prayed for this, yearned for this – AND it is hard. AND I am tired. It’s a lot like the Disney Pixar movie Inside Out…just like you have memories that are both joyful and sad, we have moments that are both happy and hard in a day. Trauma is woven into every piece of our family. There is happy and hard.
So if we’re adoptive/foster mamas looking at the road ahead, and feeling exhausted or more accurately and frequently looking at the afternoon ahead, we need to validate one another and encourage each other to see the happy and the hard. CELEBRATE the little things.
Rosie Mann, [our episode 002 guest] reminded us that the success of a day should not be measured by the absence of behavior, but the connection through it. For every day you’re helping your kiddo process trauma, we connect, connect, connect. We restore relationships and repair where we can; we get down on their level and love. We take the time to evaluate how trauma affects us as parents, we step away to recharge (for however long that takes) and get back to work.
You’ve got this mama,