The transition from part time step-parent to full time adoptive mom and step-parent has been…well, I think the word tricky sums it up nicely! I’ve written before about how I’m not the parent I thought I would be, and that has been just one of many many things I’ve learned over the past five months. But the vastness of the changes in every. facet. of. our. lives. has been…p-ret-ty trick-y.
Before it all happened and became a reality instead of ‘we’re going to do this thing called adoption’, we knew in theory it was all going to change. But man alive, holy doodle, shiver me timbers. We, and I mean all 4 of us as well as ALL of us adopters and adoptees and families of, should receive medals in the transition Olympics.
It’s a hard transition for everybody involved; the kid/s, any sibling you may have hanging around, parents, the foster parents (plus any other kids they may have), the biological parents in some cases, respite workers, school personnel…I mean ev-er-y-bo-dy. Some it obviously hits harder than others and it effects everybody differently in many different ways. But today I’m taking about moi and just a few of the big ways the transition to being a mum has been.
Time with Gord – huge change numero uno for me. For us. (Plus going from oodles of time alone – and I love me my alone time, to squeezing in a few hours a week).
I’ve always shared Gord with Anthony, They came as a package deal and it was just the way it was. But because of the way our schedule works with Anthony – we either had the week time or the weekends just to ourselves every month. Our time together just the two of us was built in.
When Jonathan moved in that time disappeared, plus, we were simply too exhausted to do anything other than relay information like business partners. Now we are learning that full time child = need for planning and respite, something we are just getting our feet dirty with. These days we aren’t quite as tired as we were in those first couple of months and we are getting good at making sure we have time just us, but it’s been a very conscious effort on both our parts and continues to be so. Transition difficulty rating 9/10
Forgetting everything/it not being useful I’ve learned over the past 13 years – maybe one of the most difficult things I am accepting right now.
You see, we should have this whole thing in the bag: Gord is a social worker, he’s even worked in foster care. I have been working with kids with disabilities and their parents for over a feakin’ decade. Put the two together and we should be a dream team for our little Rocket. But in reality, not so much. Put the word adoption in front of everything and all that I know does not apply, goes blank or is not working.
It’s been hard. Admitting that it is hard, is hard.
In the scheme of things, we are still in early days so we do give ourselves a bit of credit. And as we’ve slowly been getting to know each other somethings are getting a tad easier. However, what we are learning is that the more he lets us in and lets us know him, the more complex it gets and the less we know. The more we love, the more he pushes. And all that we know and understand about behaviour does not fit. Throw in communication delays, make that severe communication delays, and we are often grasping for just an ounce more patience to keep on keeping on. Patience and wine. We are often grasping for wine too.
Although most of our intelligence has been thrown out the window, what we have not forgotten to do is how to advocate and how to ask for help, and in the end this may be the most important thing that we do remember. Transition Difficulty rating 10/10
The guilt. OH the guilt. I’m sure every parent is riddled with it and it comes with the territory. This I can accept. But there seems to be this extra adoption guilt.
There is a “I wanted this so badly but all I want you to do is go away for 5 minutes so I can pee/cry/think/talk on the phone/close my eyes/save my sanity ’cause kid you be driving me crazy” kinda guilt. There is a constant pull and push during this transition time (and we are very much still in transition around here) of I love you so much come here so I can hug the snot out of you versus I might just hide in this closest for a wee bit (all the while the guilty feeling of thinking, or even actually doing it, washes over me).
I wanted this. I dreamed about this. I hurt so badly when I thought I couldn’t have it. And now here he is, so when those thoughts and feelings start to appear the guilt cloud lingers.
It feels that as an adopter, you can’t complain, or maybe that you shouldn’t complain. That there are these outside expectations that you need to be wonderful, he is wonderful and sunshine and lollipops spew from you each and every moment of every day. Realistic or not, the guilt hath cometh. Transition difficulty 9/10
(I understand that this is totally unrealistic on a conscious level and that I mostly put it on myself, but try telling that to my brain)
There are so many more facets of transition that I could write about but you’d get bored and skim over them (ahem, you haven’t already have you?!)
What was the most difficult part of transitioning for you personally those first few months when you were first placed with your child/children? Please share!