Do you think if someone would have been honest with you when you adopted about what life would be like, would you have still made the same choices? Do you tell when you give these adoption trainings what their life will be like?
To answer her and anyone else asking this question, yes. I'd do it again.
Interestingly enough, we were told what life would be like. It's just that we didn't believe that they were telling the truth. We though, "we're smart, we're educated, we're resilient, we'll be good parents." And then I think we believed, "It will get better. Maybe it will start bad, but it will improve."
Our trainers told us, "if you have a good day a month you'll be lucky." They did not de-emphasize anything. We just thought we were different from everyone else.
And when I train, I tell people like it is. I promise them "the hardest thing you'll ever love." I tell them our horror stories. But I also tell them, "You CAN survive."
Now that we have 10 kids between the ages of 10 and 20 life is probably the hardest it's ever been. But we are more resilient, we have learned to pick our battles, and most days we do pretty well. We have a lot of stress, but we have learned how to keep it at a manageable level.
I think the bottom line is always expectations. If you expect things to be very hard, then when they are there are no surprises. I expect our lives to be pretty difficult over the next 10 years... and I hope to be surprised that it is better than I expected.
One of the things that parents today have that we didn't have 10 years ago are connections with people who have been living with these kinds of kids and gotten through their adolescense. We look at the best of parents and realize that maybe it isn't our fault -- that we do the best we can. We have people ahead of us who are telling us how to do things and how to feel, and we have others behind us that we can feel good about advising. The internet has given us these connections.
I tell folks, "Yes, it's hard, but just because something is hard doesn't mean it shouldn't be done." And I truly believe, that when it is all said and done, regardless of how many mistakes I make, that I will be able to look back and say, "My children had a better life because I chose to parent them." And that's what it's all about because, "it's not about me."