In Adoption you never really know what it is like until you have your butt in the saddle, your feet in the stirrups and the horse is galloping at full speed for the watering hole. Even if you have ridden that horse in the past this ride is like no other you have experienced. I often laugh when I tell friends I have given birth to a teen ager, but I really think there is a reason years later you do not remember the pain of the actual birthing experience.

The funny part is, I am surrounded by the world of Adoption: adoptive families, waiting children, adoption professionals and I consider myself a well seasoned adoptive parent. How could I have forgotten the sleepless nights helping my traumatized child feel safe again? Its only been 3 years since I adopted my younger son, but in reflection I ran on 3 to 4 hours sleep for about 5 months. Age makes no difference because at 3am in the morning when your six-foot tall teenager needs you to help him because he thinks there are ghosts in his room, you crawl out of bed and lie on the side of his bed until he falls asleep again. It is easy to forget what I call the ‘Ping-Pong effect”, where you bounce between rooms ,talking and listening, while tucking them in, trying to make each child feel secure and connected. As a single parent it is exhausting and not to forget the reactive attachment rant which is when you have to nod quietly while your child goes on and on and on about the horrible parent that you are.

Now if this sounds like I am complaining, know I am not. It’s just putting things on paper keeps the perspective and the hope that my transparency and openness may connect to another soul helps me.There is nothing worse than living a life thinking no one else could ever understand. I know this journey for us all is determined and directed by a power greater than us all, and honestly I could have never chosen or planned it.

What I want to share with parents that are adopting again is it is never the same. There are always similarities and of course you have gained more understanding of trauma and loss. But loving a teenager with a life time of pain and isolation is a tricky road, because just when you think you have it handled, a new day dawns with a new challenge. So as my daughter often says to me…Stop analyzing so much and just put on your big girl panties and get to work! I agree, but do you think I could wear some with a loser fit today?

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