Thursday, June 11, 2009

Not The Normal Learning Curve

Yesterday I read a post by a gal in our adoption agency community. I've been reading her adoption journey for about a year now. By all accounts, she's a loving momma and fierce advocate for special needs adoptions and a woman of great faith. I learn so much when I read her posts. I'm looking forward to a day that we can meet in person, to finally tell her face to face what her perseverance and passion meant to me during our own journey to Li'l Empress.

This post really got me thinking.
(Go, read, BUT come back. I've got more to say!)

I've read quite a few perspectives on the issues surrounding our daughter's story and how to share, what to share, and when to share it. I'm learning that I may need to consider more carefully what I share with people as Li'l Empress grows. Right now, the newness of it all is still sinking in and in my excitement I tend to share whatever comes to mind about her adoption journey and her diagnoses. (I know, you're so surprised that I do that! Snarf.) I need to start holding back and giving less of Li'l E out to whoever asks when we are out and about in our community.

I get that it's her story to tell and while I'm passionate about educating others on the joys of special needs adoption and sharing myself with those around me, it IS primarily HER STORY. I'm learning that I have to re-think how and when I share, and plan ahead for giving her a voice in how we handle the inevitable questions and input that come from others. I'm re-learning a new kind of discernment and judgment about the inquiries and the source from which they come. Of course, this doesn't include my interactions in this blogging community. I must stress that I'm primarily speaking of those who engage with us in the community where we live, and so on. You know, real live people! :)

Another thing I'm learning, no matter how differently families handle these issues in the adoption community, it is imperative that we intentionally and consistently see that Li'l E is honored for who she is and how she came to us. (We have no problems honoring the Lord for His hand on the journey - you may remember that particular learning curve from around this time last summer!) So far, one of my ways of honoring that process has been to enthusiastically share when asked. No surprise there. I'm a words girl. (Again with the snarf!)

I'm learning that this will look and feel different throughout the different stages of Li'l E's life. What must remain consistent is our unconditional acceptance of Li'l E and our building her up on the inside to weather the looks or the questions. To nurture her in a way that she is comfortable enough in her own skin to handle them with her own grace and style. In my own journey, I seldom mind the questions or even the looks. Honestly, her ear is not that noticeable to very many. But I'm learning that she may feel differently about those same questions or looks. Even if folks don't question me about her ear or her hearing, she may mind the questions about the adoption journey.

Thanks, Robin, for reminding me to more thoughtfully and intentionally pursue this topic. It's never far from my mind, but your post sent my thoughts in a new direction. I'm always so grateful to learn from the other adoptive moms that have been placed in my path. I've said it before and I'll likely say it again and again: the learning curve of adoption and special needs is a steep one. And yesterday, I was reminded that it's not a straight-out bell curve. This one's more like an adventure ride with twists and turns that keep you gripping the bar and hanging on the edge of your seat.

Unpredictable and exhilarating!


Aus said...

Great post! It's hard to remember to not 'advocate' sometimes, but these things ARE our kids stories! Oh - and dag nab it - I've got another blog to keep up with now - thanks for the referral tho - beautiful family!

hugs - aus and co.

Faith, Hope, and Love said...

Thank you SO much for your sweet words! I'm so touched that I'm wiping tears as I type this.

What great words of wisdom! I think I'm realizing that I need to think more about my kids watching me than others watching them. It IS their story to tell. I sometimes wonder if I should post such personal things about Mia Hope. I just hope that in some way I'm helping someone else that may be going thru the same thing. I also hope that the message Mia Hope receives is that her perseverance rises above all the special need challenges...and that she is in no way to be defined by them.

Thank you for making my day! Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by it all...


Jessica said...

I just wanted to encourage you and let you know that I think you are doing a great job raising your little one. I will continue to pray for you and your family and you continue on this journey. Please let me know if you need anything along the way.

Cindi Campbell said...

You are right about it being a journey where we will change our minds about what we will feel comfortable sharing with other people and letting our children do what seems right to them.

Naomi has her foot bandaged up right now and I just say she had an operation because I don't want to go into the whole thing with strangers and their wierd reactions. Although the other day I was so mad at not being able to swing my her at the playground because 2 moms hogged all the swings (one day I will blog about the incident)and it was the only thing dd could do at the time I found myself telling another mom she had her foot amputated when asked .....just for effect. And I still wonder what was that in me that decided I wanted to see her reaction. Hmmmm.....I guess the mama bear came out it me because the two moms each had 2 children with 2 perfectly good feet that could have taken them to play on something else . I am still mad.

Margaret M said...

I loved Robin's post and had to follow over to your blog to read your response. I think we as Mom's to children with special needs are always learning and may that never change. Thanks for saying the words!