Recently I had a friend reach out to me for some advice on an issue she was having with her kiddos. I don’t want to get into too much detail about what the issue was but I loved the fact that she thought I somehow had it together enough to ask me for parenting advice! I will take that for a win. Because then just one day, the very next day, I experienced the complete opposite.
Let me remind you that we are raising a very stubborn and strong-willed three year old. Let me also remind you that he is adopted– hence this blog.
So the story goes. We had been having a few rough days with Jackson. Like to the point of the neighbors knocking on our door because Jackson had been screaming at the top of his lungs for a good 15-20 minutes and was screaming mom the whole time. Of course I would try to talk to him but he couldn’t or wouldn’t hear anything I had to say. So, our neighbor thought something had happened to me and Jackson couldn’t wake me up. Of course though we answered the door and told her it was a battle of the wills. But also thanked her for coming because one, something could have happened to me and I am thankful we have such wonderful neighbors. But two, it also helped Jackson snap out of his funk.
Of course then as I talked to people about this situation they all had an opinion to share with me. Well, thank you all for your opinions (you know who you are!) but I also didn’t ask you for your advice. I was simply venting or talking to you about what has been happening in our life and our struggles with raising Jackson.
But then I had a moment of weakness and broke down to my husband saying, what if these things people were saying were true. What if I was a bad mom? What if you were a bad dad? What if we are doing all this wrong? To my surprise (he still surprises me) he responded with “I don’t care what they think. We will raise our son the way we think he should be raised.” He also might have said something like “They all think they are experts in raising children but none of us our experts.” Thank you Jesus for giving me this man because there are days I just can’t do it without him.
But it also got us talking about raising Jackson. Y’all I don’t know if you know this or not but we can’t raise our child the same way you raise yours. Why? Because he is adopted. If you have biological children this may seem odd to you but if you have adopted children I would hope you would agree with us. Again, you ask why? Because there are some things that we (unless you were adopted yourself) will not understand about being adopted. There is research that shows children will suffer from being adopted even if they were adopted as infants. Of course to what degree will be different for every child. But there is a sense of “loss” in every adoption story. There is a sense of lost identity in every adoption story.
There is also DNA we know nothing about. In our situation we know half of the DNA that makes up Jackson and nothing about the other half. Of course not everyone knows their family medical history either but there are things we won’t know about Jackson. We even talked about him needing to see a therapist at some point in his life. And I hope he talks to one if he needs to. Because again, I don’t understand the sense of lost identity that comes with being adopted. Of course we will do everything in our power to raise him to know Jesus and know that we are his parents and he is loved and this is just part of who he is. But at times we will fail him. Not because we didn’t try but because we simply can’t understand what he is going through. So, no, I can’t raise my child the same way you can. Nor do I want to raise my child the same way you do. I want to raise my child the only way I know how, with love (while doing the best I can).