First and foremost, I’d like to apologize for my inconsistent and infrequent blog posts. I could make excuses all day long about my not having enough time, being a working mom, juggling the kiddos schedule and finding time to reconnect with my husband, but I know deep inside those are all just that, excuses… The reality is when I put my thoughts on paper, or in type, they all of a sudden become very real and I’m not always ready to face the reality of my emotions and feelings. I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been scared to share the truth about what’s really going on in this head of mine. You see, when you adopt, people are always telling you how amazing you are, how they think you are practically saints and although that is so kind, I also have become very aware of this false image that people have painted of me, and I’m terrified to let them down. The truth is we are ordinary people, with tons of flaws and we are just starting to figure out this whole parenting thing. We make mistakes daily and I am always aware of the fact that I need to work on myself, that I am still being molded and mended. Don't forget we are all human and nine times out of ten, we face the same struggles in various areas of our lives.
Confession: I’m breaking my own rules over here. I’m always telling people how the worst thing you can do for yourself is have a pity party. Well guess who’s having a pity party this week and feeling bad about it? I've been comparing my children and my parenting to everyone else’s. No bueno! I know better than that, but I can’t help it. Here are the things I’ve been struggling with:
- I’ve been feeling sorry for myself because I haven’t had the opportunity to raise my kiddos from birth, like most moms, which I feel puts my children at a disadvantage. This especially happens when we get bad news at Katya’s doctor’s appointments, which for a while, were weekly visits. If it wasn’t an ulcer, a parasite, staff infection, ear infection, it’s been hip dysplasia and birth defects. Anyhow, every time I hear about another issue I begin to resent others who had perfectly healthy kids and complain about nonsense issues, like the color of their hair and the size of their nose. I completely understand this is unfair, but once again, not always rational in moments and far from perfect. The good news is despite of all these physical and psychological challenges, Katya is the most optimistic kiddo I’ve ever met. I wish I could have protected her from all these physical ailments and given her the medical attention she deserved, but I’m also grateful to have medical insurance and access to Shriners Hospital, who can help us bring her into good health.
- I’ve quicky realized my kids aren’t going to be like all the other kids we hang out with, or most kids in general. This week was parent teacher conference time at my son’s school. While other parents were beaming with joy over their child’s straight A’s, honor roll and student of the month, we were relieved our 4th grader has managed to count to 20 and has learned basic addition. Most of the year, our homework sessions have ended in either or both Andrey and I in tears. It’s been tough. Katya has her own struggles as well. The preschoolers at Katya’s school are celebrating how nicely they write and sound out the letters of the alphabet and 7 weeks into school I’m still trying to get my daughter to call the Teacher by name instead of yelling “Hey!”. Just when I think we made progress, I pick her up from school and ask, “Katya, what is your teacher’s name? She says with a huge smile on her face “Miss Doggy!” Oh Vey! I feel like the more I realize how far behind our children are, the more work I realize I have to do to get them to be normal functioning adults one day, and the truth is I’m already getting burned out and overwhelmed from the physical and emotional needs, that I don’t feel l have anything left for their educational needs. I feel like they will always be carrying around the damage that was done to them by their past. It sucks and it’s not fair that they are already at such a disadvantage in life. Also, selfishly, I’ve always been a go getter and have made my parents proud in my accomplishments and I become a bit jealous that others will be proud of their children, showing them off to the world, while I try to rush out of church, hoping my kids don't dig in people's purses for candy and ask complete stranger if they can please have their Ipod. Like seriously, this is hard work!
- I feel like I’m too hard on my kids, but I don’t know how to change. First of all, I wish I was a more graceful parent. I’m not the calm and collected mom I envisioned I would be. I struggle between making sure they know the rules and I'm consistent with follow through and feeling like they really may not know better. In my defense though, I don’t think I was fully aware of how difficult it would be to parent an older child. We knew to some extent it would be difficult to parent an 11 year old who has been institutionalized the majority of his life, I still feel the books should have said in bold and underlined… WARNING, THIS WILL TEST YOUR LAST BIT OF PATIENCE… PROCEED WITH CAUTION! Don’t get me wrong, if we knew how difficult it would be, it still would not have changed our decision, but I think I would have had set different expectations. The truth is Andrey is doing amazing for the short period of time he’s been in a family environment, I think I’m the one who is failing. I always say I feel like we've hit the jackpot as far as international adoption go, but I can’t let go of my standards and my expectations. Roman constantly reminds me that we need to set different bench marks for our kiddos, but I guess the over-achiever in me doesn't want to accept that. I’m working through this and hope God guides me through this process.
Comparison is a road that leads to know where but resentment, jealousy, anger, etc. A friend of mine recently shared a quote with me, “comparison is the thief of contentment.” This is so true! I’m not entirely sure how I’ll work through these issues, but I think God will come through and change me through this process. I’ve realized I don’t have much grace for mistakes but I have to constantly remind myself of how much grace God has shown me in my life. I’m definitely far from deserving of the magnitude of blessings that surround me each day, yet God still pours out his love and compassion. Too bad I haven’t made a lot of time for devotionals or reading God’s word, or I bet I’d be doing much better #workinprogress. Have you ever struggled with comparing yourselves to others? How'd you work through it?