Who Were You Before You Adopted?

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by Brenda on

Well hi there. This is my first official post about raising kids who have lived through trauma. We had lunch with friends from church today who have also adopted. As I sat, chatting with this trauma mama, we discussed this very topic:

Who were you before you adopted?

What were you like? What did you enjoy? What have you completely lost sight of in the midst of the crazy, chaotic life you’re living?

I don’t bring this up to make us feel resentful about our children or the fact that God brought them into our life. I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone–ANYONE–from adopting. That is not my goal.

My goal is to get myself–and you–to think about who you were, what you’ve forgotten, and what you might be able to be purposeful about bringing back into your life even in the midst of the chaos. Is it possible? I hope so. I desperately hope so.

So, here’s who I was….

  • Before our first adoption, I was a hands-on, story-reading, flannel story telling, circle time, singing kind of mom.
  • Before that first adoption, I was a hostess–really, we had people from church over to dinner multiple times per week. I had a scrapbook for guest photos, and we had fun. We were connecting. I LOVED hospitality.
  • Before our life turned crazy, I was a crafty mom, and I wasn’t afraid of the messes. I let my kids finger paint on papers on the kitchen floor in their diapers, and then carried them straight to the bathtub, where they promptly wiped paint all over the walls of the tub. No biggie, right?
  • Before everything changed, I was a baking, recipe-inventing kind of mom. I sent over 30 recipes in to the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest one year. We invited friends over to try my many creations. Yum.
  • Before our first adoption, I kept up on the laundry…I really did!! It’s hard to believe it now!
  • Before that day our adopted child entered our home, I was an event planner for our church. I planned a Chili Cook-Off, a Survivor Night, a camping trip, a picnic, etc., etc.! It was FUN! I made plans, reserved spaces, planned catering, called people, made fliers, bought and made decorations, created games, and had a generally good time.
  • I wrote letters–like hand-written letters! A precious great-Aunt and I would exchange letters regularly.
  • I was skinny. I spent a lot of my life being skinny. I didn’t have to work hard at it, either.
  • I was a creative wife. I crafted hand-made cards for my husband, sent him on scavenger hunts and surprised him with day trips.
  • I didn’t watch TV. I spent time with my family, spent time being creative, read books, listened to the radio, and went to bed at a reasonable time.

I’m sure there is more.

Enter: screaming toddler. Not just like a normal screaming toddler. Screaming ALL.THE.TIME. toddler.

Stories stopped happening.

Songs were few and far between.

Hospitality ended for a long time and is now a rare occurrence.

Baking & recipe creation was no longer a part of my life.

The laundry has never been the same since.

I can’t even imagine planning events anymore. Who has time or energy for that?

Letters? I barely even respond to emails.

I just wish I was skinny now. I got rid of those size 4 jeans a long time ago.

My poor husband lost his creative wife. I buy gifts and make nothing. I don’t plan special day trips or scavenger hunts these days.

I watch TV to escape the chaos and maybe to numb the pain.

Who is with me???

Make your list. Who were you? What did you do differently? Cry about it. Grieve over it. Don’t get angry at your adopted child or at God for placing that child into your family. That child is supposed to be there. It isn’t the child’s fault, so don’t misplace blame or anger on your child, please….

What we live now–who we are now–it’s our reality….But what are we going to do about it? I’ll write more tomorrow….

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