Visible Sadness

Today it happened. I could see it all over her face. The response I have been fearing as a result of my inadequacies was obvious. Her sadness was undeniable. Sure, she has been sad before but this...THIS was different. Let me explain...

The hardest part about adopting is this stage right now. I thought it was the waiting to be with her. I thought it was the being away from my other 2 kids while in Uganda for over a month. But the hardest part is today and tomorrow and the day after that. The daily grind of trying to meet 3 VERY different children exactly where they are at is impossible. Not only trying to do that is hard but doing so when I'm not even in a secure place myself. Then add to the pile trying to give 100% to my husband at the same time. I'm just spent. So truth be told, I haven't been a very good wife, mother, or friend lately. There are moments I watch myself do/say things I never imagined I would do/say but can't seem to muster the strength to not do/say them. I have been feeling like a failure in all areas of life.

Most of all I feel like I'm failing Jaydn. In theory I know what she needs but the practicality of being able to provide those things for her is so far out of reach on a daily basis. I have thoughts of wishing Jax and Jo were older so I could focus more on Jaydn. I have thoughts of wondering if it would have been wiser to have adopted first and not third. All because I can see that what Jaydn needs I cannot find the capacity of time, focus, attention or patience to give right now.
People close to me, who I have shared these feelings with, have comforted me with the idea that she is OK and that even if its not the best job I could do as a mom, its still a good job. But that never felt adequate to me. I still want to give her more. More than I have right now. Today my fears were revealed through the downtrodden eyes of my baby girl. It broke me into a million pieces. I'm NOT doing a good job and now she knows it deep down in her soul.

The kids were all playing together while I packed up some items in the garage in preparation for our move in a few weeks. I walked through the living room and noticed she was sitting in the bean bag with a sad look on her face but I assumed she was playing a role, which so often occurs during the play of my children. I thought she was "in jail" and waiting to be "rescued" like I've seen played out time after time. So I walked past. About 10 minutes later I walked through the room again and saw she hadn't moved but b/c of the direction I was heading, I didn't see her face. When I came back through to head out again, her expression gave it away. I crumbled to my knees beside her and asked if she was okay. Nothing. I asked again and again. Nothing. She just looked at me through the saddest eyes I have ever seen with a pout well beyond that of a tantruming two year old but of a girl wanting things to be different. Instantly I curled her into my chest then looking into her eyes, I apologized for getting frustrated earlier. I told her "I love you" over and over again through the tears pouring down my face. But nothing changed. Her silence was deafening. I was attacked with voices in my head saying, "she hates it here" and "she wants to go back." It was a devastating blow to my "try to keep it all together" cover. I just held her and cried. I was saying "I love you" so much and so loudly that Jaxon and Jovie came out of their room to see what was going on. They asked if we were OK and I couldn't even give them an answer, all I cared about was her. I wanted to promise her the moon but in that moment, even the moon felt like it wasn't good enough. I had nothing to offer her beyond what she was getting and her eyes were telling me, "that's not enough."

Eventually she wiggled her way out of my arms and she trotted into the room with her siblings and played off to the side of whatever they were doing but I could see she was still sad. True to form the kids all got into a tiff a few moments later and she broke into a wailing that sounded typical but I knew it was coming from the depths of her sorrow. I scooped her up again and soothed her cry enough to be able to lay her down for a nap. I prayed that while her eyes were closed she would forget how insufficient I am as a mother and give me another chance to love her when she woke up.

I know mothers aren't supposed to be perfect but I want to be, for her sake. She deserves the best and I am not the best. I have always prayed that God would redeem my failures as a mother in the lives of my kids but that has been taken to a whole new level when I became a mother to Jaydn. Her needs are so great- well beyond my reach, even on my best days- so I will fail her time and time again. But God never will.

My prayer is that God will lend me His arms in those desperate moments of sadness for Jaydn. That He will fill me with HIS love for her in those times of agitation and impatience. That I will tap into the Holy Spirit within me to be able to not only endure, but thrive in these trying days as a mother.

For now I will cling to the truth found in 2 Corinthians 12:9: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.


plumie said...

You did and are doing the right thing. She, rather HE is making you into a better person as you are helping Jaydn become a better child because of your love and sacrifice for her.

Eyes on Jesus, you are doing a long term "least of these" moment with your precious gift who perfectly reflects our relationship to our Heavenly Father. You are being beautiful hands and feet and thank you for your transparency.

May you find sweet peace adn wisdom in these moments and as you seek Him to mother your children in His way.

God Bless you Bethany. He will make everything beautiful in it's (their) time.


Mary Beth said...

Oh, sweet sister,

I understand completely. I've been feeling guilty for months because I know I am not being the mother my children need. Everything I have is not enough. I've been clinging to 2 Cor. 12:9 as well. Much love to you. I'll be praying.

Tracy said...

Thank you so much for being real and sharing this. I am praying for you!! You are a blessing to so many!

goldentimes said...

I love to read your blog and my heart is aching for you right now, I know the feeling of failure all to well and I hope these words from a sermon our Pastor gave a few years back will be an encouragement. He said "When there is not enough of you, there is always more of God." You will be in my prayers. You have a beautiful heart, keep fighting through this hard spot!

The Raudenbush Family said...

Thank you for sharing this--the adoption journey is not an easy one. I'm so glad you are blogging about the real life part of it. Can I repost this one on WAGI?
(And, I really like your blog design, btw)

Anonymous said...

There are so many parts of your story that are so familiar to parents who have experienced the same thing. You are doing the right things. But just as some women get post-partum depression, I honestly have fears that you are experiencing some post-adoption depression or adustment symptoms. It's COMPLETELY normal, but does deserve a good discussion with your doctor. I hope you have a good physician with whom you can discuss these feelings. Sometimes it only takes time, sometimes it takes a good psychologist (man, it's great to have someone that will just listen), and sometimes it takes meds for a little while. Just think about it. Pray about it. The answer will come to you.