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Monday, April 7, 2008

It Wasn't Just Me

This past weekend the Husband, the Tongginator and I attended a workshop for people interested in growing their families through adoption. Our little three-person family attended for different reasons: I came as an invited speaker; the Tongginator came to graze at the All Important Snacks Table and to Play Outside With Friends; and the Husband of course attended in order to trail after the Tongginator. Goodness, I love that man.

Several speakers shared details about their adoption experiences: the paperchase, the wait, the international adoption trips. Our social worker asked me to instead discuss adoption parenting -- life once you arrive home with your adopted child. I didn't share many personal examples in order to protect the Tongginator's privacy, but I did talk in general terms and share a few vague Tongginator stories to better illustrate concepts surrounding attachment, sensory issues, developmental delays, life as a transracial family and also adoption grief.

Before I began my formal speech (complete with Incredible Slide Show Created by the Husband), I hesitantly shared with the audience that our adoption transition experience quite probably falls in the minority. Our first eighteen months home felt particularly tough to me; then again, I don't have anything to compare it to. I rarely discuss in detail that time of our lives because, while it is my story, it's also the Tongginator's story. Our social worker is one of the few who knows most of the story.

Sitting there, in front of potential and waiting adoptive parents, I didn't want to exaggerate, nor did I wish to minimize the typical challenges, so I turned to our social worker, in front of the audience, and asked her, "Would you say that our transition seemed more difficult than most?"

God bless her. Truly. God bless her. She has no idea how healing her response felt to me. She replied, in front of that room full of people, "When I think of all of the families I have worked with over the years, two come to mind who dealt with exceptionally tough circumstances. Your family is one of the two."

Do you realize what this means?

It wasn't just me.

It.

Wasn't.

Just.

Me.

I adore our Tongginator. She is SUCH a testament to strength, perseverance, kindness and beauty. She is the same child she's always been, and yet these past three years also brought us differences as extreme as night and day. The greatest challenges of our lives most often bring the largest blessings. That's what I think when I remember our first two years together as a forever family.

I feel blessed to parent our little Tongginator. I thank God for allowing her to join our family. At the same time, I'm relieved we are where we are now. It's taken lots of love, time, prayer, hard work and perseverance - from everyone, most especially the Tongginator. And now I know.

It wasn't just me.

I feel so much stronger now.

And maybe, just maybe, it won't feel so challenging this next go-around.

8 comments:

CC said...

Wow. That is affirming!! And you are amazing that in spite of exceptionally difficult transitions you are going through the process again!

Kim said...

Is your Tonguu girl high temper and a bit of a drama queen? Ours is and boy did I have some bonding issues with her - we have had her home for over a year now so things are steadily getting better but there are still little things that I notice daily that I wonder about and I know she hasn't learned from us...like hitting and throwing things...she would hit herself and pinch herself quite frequently when we first brought her home...it took a while to teach the concept of remorse

Cheri H said...

Phew, it's always good to know it's not you! From reading your blog I can tell you are a wonderful momma! God knows where his children should go, I truely believe it! Even if it means going through some difficult times! That is what parenting is about. Some times it is harder than other times.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Thanks everyone! :) And, to answer Kim's question (I also e-mailed her), yes, absolutely our Tongginator is high temper and a bit of a drama queen. That's how she earned her nickname. :)

Janet said...

That must have felt amazing. What a great social worker you have!!!!!

Tonggu Grammy said...

As the Tongginator's Grammy I can truthfully say that it was NEVER just Tonggu Momma. God must have a tremendous sense of humor to send the sensory seeking drama queen to such a polar opposite. And yet, He knew exactly what He was doing when He sent the Tongginator to an excellent researcher who perserveres during the difficult times. What a blessing it has been to see the changes in our little angel (oops! I mean Tongginator) while she still keeps her personality and energy. And just think, she eats just about anything healthy (like dirt) these days. God is good and He has richly blessed Tonggu Momma and the husband!

discombobulated said...

Very nice post.

Carrie&Aaron said...

thanks you for youe email-I have not been so open on my web site but your welcome to read it and you can see our family!CK