Family Meeting Anyone?

Adoption/Foster Care is Hard! Remember getting married, and year 2 or 3, when the love goggles were off, broken in a corner somewhere, and you saw your spouse for the first time for the broken, non-perfect, mess of a person that they really were…oh yeah, and they saw you the same…and then you had to learn how to do life together, and love, really love that mess? It’s that kind of hard. Don’t get me wrong, a new baby is hard too, but not the same, and I haven’t experienced that for a very long time. What I have experienced is bringing a new child into the house that my kids didn’t prepare for, for the last 9 months. Adoption and foster care is way different. There’s no time to process and talk about how your life is going to be different and what’s going to change. Instead it happens all at once, in a moments notice.

With both our youngest daughter who we adopted, and now our 2 new additions, we had days notice to prepare. And while perhaps it’s something that you’ve talked about wanting to do for a long time, and maybe you’ve talked out scenarios with each other, nothing is quite the same as a new person just up and appearing in your house out of nowhere, with massive amounts of baggage, and I’m not talking backpacks…. It’s a lot of adjustment. And everyone is only thinking about themselves and how they’re doing in this situation. Because let’s be honest, we’re selfish people, and no one is more selfish than kids and teens. Moms and dads, we think about our kids and how they are adjusting, but they’re not thinking about anyone but themselves.

That was totally what we were experiencing just a few days after the move in a few months ago. Now I have a bit of a counseling background, so my mind tends to go to the “let’s talk it out” scenarios way more than my kids appreciate. But about a week post move in, I felt for sure like we were in desperate need of seeing life from one another perspectives, so we had a family meeting. We all sat down, and went around the room trying to talk out how we thought the other person was feeling. Everyone in the room got to comment on how they thought dad was feeling with the new transition. Dad didn’t get to answer till the end if he wanted to say something after everyone else had gotten the chance to put themselves in his shoes. We did the same thing with big sister, big brother, etc, until every person had been able to try and see life from the others point of view, and each person had been given the opportunity to share how they were feeling if they so wanted. And you know what? Everyone chose to share, and it was really good! One of those rare and amazing moments in life when it all turns out according to plan.

It was emotional, it was funny, and it was just what we needed. We’ve done different scenarios of this a few times now, pick a picture that best describes how you are feeling, share the best quality of each person in the house, etc. Each time, we understand life from each others perspective a little more, and we are there to help each other along the road a little better. Hear this, I’m not saying harder times haven’t come and aren’t still coming, Those ‘hold on for your life’, ‘I’m not sure if we’re gonna survive this’ moments have hit, and I’m sure more are on their way, and I dread them…I fear them like I feared the boogie man as a little girl. But, for the small hurdle of family connectivity, it’s been a really big step in the right direction.

There has been a bit more bonding and understanding and a little more openness since then. I’m not sure what tomorrow, next week, next month, or 6 months from now will bring. If I’m guessing, a good bit of button pushing, anger and frustration is going to be a part of this journey. But for today, there is peace, or at least more peace than yesterday….and I’ll take that any day!

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