I often think about Jonathan’s life when he was born. How can I not?
I wonder how many times he was left to cry in his crib and nobody came to comfort him. I wonder how many times he hurt himself and had nobody to pick him up and kiss him better. And I wonder a thousand other questions…What did he see, what did he hear? Does he remember? Somewhere deep deep down, does he remember? We can tell his body remembers, sometimes his brain too. The back of his head is very flat (how many hours were you left to lay there?), he has strange reactions to different things sometimes…
If I let myself, I can imagine all the scenarios. But mostly I stop before I go to that place. A part of me wants to know all the dirty nitty-gritty details – I think it will help me have a better understanding of where he’s coming from and what he needs. Maybe it would give some insight into why he does some of the things he does. But there’s another part of me that would rather not know any more than I already do.We do know some of what he witnessed, what his environments were like (there were 5), what he experienced. Some, but not all.
I believe that people do the best they can with what they have.
I believe that his biological mom did what she believed was good. And she did her best.
I believe she was not an unkind person.
But then, I let my mind wonder and I go to that place. And I get angry. And I get sad. And I’m unsure if I can believe those things anymore.
I know bad things happen to children every day and they are horrible and no child should have those terrible experiences. And I’m sad for them too.
But this is my boy. This is personal.
Why did it take so long (almost 2 years) for somebody to notice he was Deaf?
Why did it take so long (almost 3 years) for somebody to realize that he was not well cared for?
Loved, most likely. Cared for, not so much.
Where would he be if he had been a stable, good home from birth? Would he communicate better? Would he be more socially appropriate? Would he not ask for a hug every time you gave him the look (you know the look, the mom look)? But then again, he wouldn’t be him.
He is fantastic. He is funny. He is a sweet and good, kind, little boy. But he also has his ‘stuff’. A lot of stuff. And although that stuff is what makes him him, he’s 4 and shouldn’t have stuff. Cue the anger and sadness; round and round it goes.
I think about his bio mom often. Maybe more than I should? I think about how horrible it must be to have to say good bye to your child, knowing that even though you want to, you don’t have the ability to raise him. Did she cry? Does she think about him? Does she wonder where he is and who we are and how he’s doing? Does she understand all that has happened? And this makes me sad too.
At the end of the day we know only what we know. We can read the few reports about his history that we have and we can make conclusions about his behaviour from his everyday reactions to everyday things. We can guess at other peoples’ feelings and what they may be thinking, but there are many things we may never know. And I accept that. I think if you can’t accept it, you don’t adopt!
What is important is to focus on the positive things. The progress he is making with speech and signing; with attachment and settling in. The many many people, including his amazing last foster mom who did more him in a few months than anybody else had his whole life, who have loved and cared for this little boy. School staff who put his school picture up on their fridge because they thought nobody else was going to. The amount of people who have surrounded this little boy, cheering in his corner is awe-inspiring.
What is important is that we be compassionate to others. To try to be understanding and accepting, despite any anger and sadness. We can be angry and we can be sad, but we need to figure out a way to be okay with it, and then kick it out.
What is important is to love the beans out the little boy sleeping in the next room and give him all we can.
And we will do our best, with what we have.