Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Are you ready? NO, I mean, really ready...

I have a friend in China right now adopting her second child. Yesterday morning I got an email from my friend that went something like, "omigod, pray for me...I don't know what is going on with this kid..." The whole situation was so reminiscent of Maggie, that I could have typed her email in Novemeber 2004. In fact, I sort of did in this blog, but I was trying to keep the whole thing light so as not to worry my mother.

Reading my friend's emails and offering what little advice I can from 10,000 miles, it brought back so many memories of the emotional turmoil I went through after we adopted Maggie. And it struck me: I wasn't prepared for Maggie when she was placed in my arms. Oh...sure, I knew the range of reactions that were possible from a baby under stress intellectually. I read the books, I read the stories on line, and heck, she was my second kid, I knew what to expect, but I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready for the emotional fall out of an angry, demanding, needy little baby clinging to me like her ship just sank and I was her lifeboat. I wasn't ready to be her life boat. And during those first few days, I thought she would drown me.

And you know, I'm not sure I could have been prepared. I'm not sure my friend could've been prepared either. You're in a foreign country, you're handed a child you don't know, you're given some sketchy instructions on their care in the emotional moments after you've become a parent, then you're sent back to your hotel room, ALONE, where it' s sink or swim. And sometimes, the current is just against you and the kid is poking your carefully constructed life boat with her sharp little fingers nails. Before you know it, you wonder if you're both going down.

But isn't that parenting? I mean, who is really prepared? Sure, you read, you go to class, you talk to lots of people, maybe you even consult with some specialist in international adoption in an effort to make sure your boat is as water safe as possible. Then when it's your kid not eating, not drinking, lips chapping from dehydration...all that knowledge is lost in a flood of tears. Why? Because what those damn books and experts are as helpful as rocks in the hull of your boat, when you're in the heat of the moment. They don't convey is the emotional part of becoming a parent: the hopes, the expectations, the disappointments. They make the whole damn process so cut and dried. If you do this, then this will solve the problem. And worse, we want to believe it will be that simple. But when there are emotions involved, the parent's and the baby's, even the most placid river becomes a treachous set of rapids that even the most experienced adventurer will struggle to navigate.

So, when I ask, are you ready? I mean, are you really, really ready? 'Cuz I don't care how big your boat and how many supplies you put in it, every kid takes you on a different ride.

5 Comments:

  • At 4:20 AM , Blogger Johnny said...

    Yup, and to be honest, the first thought in my head is, "Gulp, I hope it's not me. Too bad if a difficult child is in our adoption group, but puleeze don't let it be us."

    Being a second timer doesn't give you any special grace, I suppose.

     
  • At 9:02 AM , Blogger M3 (Mary-Mia) said...

    Nope, we're not ready. Not one little bit. We figure our world and the kiddo's world will be turned upside down and we'll just have to work it out as we go along.

    (We have read as much as possible and talked to as many "tell it like it is" people as possible, and read great posts like this one, but I just know in the back on my mind that nothing can really prepare you...)

     
  • At 1:06 PM , Blogger Livi's Momma said...

    You just can't even describe it - there is no way for the general population to have a clue - being a mom in and of itself is just too big to be "ready" for, never mind being a new mom to a "maggie" or an "olivia". You just gotta HOLD ON cause it is an amazing "ride".

     
  • At 10:15 PM , Blogger One Lucky Mom said...

    For the record, the flowers with the pricklist thorns are capable of the most glorious bloom.

     
  • At 12:23 PM , Blogger "M" said...

    I worry about just this very thing.

    waaaah.

    Melissa
    LID 10/31/05

     

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