5.31.2011

Expectations

I think the biggest cause for a lot of the difficulties and blessings of our adoption journey has been due to expectations. Some expectations are not only met but exceeded which leads a person to gratitude and joy. But other expectations go unmet or unacknowledged and that is what leads to sadness and even depression at times. However, unmet expectations aren't always bad. Sometimes they just teach us what we really wanted, perhaps for the first time ever. If we give ourselves permission and admit what our expectations are, whether we were vocal about them or aware of them before, that alone can bring tremendous amounts of healing and learning despite the outcome. Some of my personal expectations weren't even known to me at the time they were "made" but at the loss of them, I soon realized that I had hopes for something different. As I try to dissect and an analyze the triggers for my case of PADS, I am learning a lot about my expectations of how I thought things would go.

I thought I would bring Jaydn home before she turned 2 (last August). I thought I would bring her to the U.S. to a home, church family, and town that I knew well and knew would be encouraging and supportive. I thought I would have plenty of family and friends around to help when the attachment issues got hard and Jaxon and Jovie needed a break from the daily life of a newly adoptive family. I thought I had built enough of a basis in my relationships with Jaxon and Jovie to be able to take on another toddler in our home. I thought Jaydn would fit into 3T clothing. I thought the girls would eventually get used to sharing a room and sleep for all of us would come sooner rather than later. I thought I would be in love with Jaydn in an instant and I would just "click" into mom mode. I thought Nathan would be able to handle more of this adoption stress than he has been able to. I thought the paperwork, hoops to jump through and legal processing was over once Jaydn got home. And the list goes on...

Basically I have come to see that the expectations I had, whether known at the time or not, have sent my soul into a place I had no idea it had the potential to head. But there are expectations that have surprised me as well. These are the things that have kept my head above the water, despite life's attempts to drown me. Even some of these were expectations I didn't know I had.

I thought Jaydn would hate me at first and that it would take time for her to open up to me. I thought I would be alone once I got to Little Rock. I thought I was at the end of my rope about a month ago. I thought I would never live near my mom and stepdad again. I thought Jaydn would feel "different" as a black child in a white family. I thought home was a place and not the relationships we build with people we love. I thought Jaydn would always scream when Bailey (our dog) came near her. I thought Jaydn would never let me put her down and go play. And the list goes on...

So many of these expectations were shattered by being met and exceeded with positive outcomes. These are the reminders to me that I will be ok and that time is on my side.

I can't help but wonder what expectation Jaydn has. I hope, through her time with her family, that her expectations will be positive ones. I pray that she expects to be treated with respect and equality everywhere that she is. I hope she expects to find love and support in the arms of Nathan and I and companionship in the arms of her siblings. I pray she expects to be seen as an integral part of the whole. I hope she expects honesty and authenticity in all of her relationships. I hope she expects us to be human and to fall short of her expectations at times. I pray she expects to respond to those shortcomings with grace and forgiveness. I expect I will need that from her from time to time.

2 comments:

The Raudenbush Family said...

Thanks again for such a candid real post -- I'm bookmarking it.

Rileys in Uganda said...

Great post Bethany. Thank you so much for your honesty and saying it as it is. So many post adoptive parents give the Disney version of their lives, while they live in quiet desperation. But you are voicing the experience a lot of people have and the lives they are living. Adoption is not like the movies, it's so much more complex than that. It has been said that parenting both birth children and adopted children is the hardest mix, and from my experience this is definitely true. Your honesty will get you through this valley Bethany and when you get through to the other side, you will be able to help and support so many people. Sending you lots and lots of love Keren xxx