TODAY’S ADOPTION QUESTION!
Steve & I are often asked what advice we’d give someone considering adoption from foster care. It can be hard to answer, because I want to tell everyone all the things, yet I’m aware that each experience is really unique and not everything will apply. But yesterday afternoon I realized one thing that is universal:
REALLY enjoy the good moments.
I know that sounds cliche. But seriously. Do it.
When things go well, notice it, savor it, write down what happened in a journal, snap pictures if you can. Tell the story of the good thing that happen to anyone who might listen. Replay them over and over in your mind so that they become integrated into your internal soundtrack of what your life is like right now.
Stressful memories will accumulate on their own. You’ve got to intentionally stockpile good ones.
In your early months as a new adoptive placement, once the honeymoon phase wears off and you’re not all tiptoeing around one another anymore, there comes a time where it feels like your life used to be a nice snow globe…but then it got knocked off the table and landed upside down in the trash. Nothing is the way it used to be, you’re not sure how to rebuild your life from the pieces you can find, and everyone is exhausted from the new emotional demands of creating a family out of strangers. (That’s not bad news, and it’s not forever. It’s just an unavoidable stage.)
So when you get good moments, they are like GOLD.
But if you’re too focused on the stress of rebuilding, or lost staring at the piles of your former life, you will miss these moments.
Yesterday, I was home with my son after school. He asked if he could cook mac & cheese for a snack. He expected me to say no (that child needs protein!) but my lifelong understanding that mac & cheese = happiness won out, and I said yes. Then the moment came: He wasn’t sure how to make it, would I help?
Now, you ALL know that I am unlikely to have many “let me teach you my favorite recipe” moments with my children. It’s taken me 12 years to figure out basic dinners. But mac & cheese is my THING! I made it in a plug-in kettle in college, a microwave in law school, my little apartment stove in Philadelphia, and the “real” stove I had in D.C., where my Italian roommate (who was practically a chef, just via genetics) watched on, horrified and amused by my enthusiasm. Teaching #1 Cherub to make mac & cheese is closest thing I’ll have to a culinary legacy. So I took pictures, and made all kinds of jokes about how much his future wife will love this special recipe, passed down from his Mom :)
It was a good moment, and I’m glad I didn’t miss it.