One day in Ethiopia when all our friends in the guest house were heading out to the market, Zelakesh was having a big fuss because I wouldn’t give her more gum. She had gone into my handbag while I was getting dressed, taken out my blister pack of gum and chewed up every single piece, then spat them out and stuffed the chewed wads back into the blister pack. When she demanded more, I refused. Well, the earth stopped turning, the sun stopped shining, and all hell broke loose. I can still hear her echoing screams, “Masticaaaaaaaa! Masticaaaaaaaa!”
I told you in an email that I spent that trip either crying or trying desperately not to cry. The other parents at the Guest House must have wondered at my very small bladder, because I was constantly leaving the group to go upstairs “to the bathroom.” Yes, I was going upstairs to the bathroom, but it was so I could cry in private.
We’ve been together for close to six months. Honestly, my friend, it’s like we have different children now. The other day, Zelakesh suddenly remembered what she did with the gum that day. She laughed and said, “Oh, no! I very rude in Addis Ababa! I cry, want gum. Zelakesh very rude to Mommy. I sorry, Mommy.”
My point is, this is a very small time in your new life together — just a tiny blip when you look at all the good years before you. The day will come (I think very soon) that you will be snuggling with your child and laughing and enjoying every minute with your child, and your child will be enjoying every minute with you.
Crying, wishing things were different, feeling like you’ll scream if you don’t get away from your child — these things don’t make you a bad mom. They make you a HUMAN mom! Those years of longing for a child don’t require you to be a perfect saint with endless patience. The fact is, this is a terrible time. Our children are grieving and confused, and WE are grieving and confused. You’re grieving the loss of your expectations and adjusting to your new reality. What you are feeling is totally normal.
All the best to you, my friend. Take the breaks you need; they will help you through this time. Leave your child with your husband, go out with a friend or just go out alone. Get your husband to take your child out to the park, and have a long, slow bubble bath. Read a book, pray, watch a funny movie and laugh. Laughter really did keep me sane for the first three months.
You’ll make it. Things are going to get so much better, these first days will be a blurry memory that will make you laugh and shake your head. Honestly! Hang in there! You’re a great mom already, and things are going to get better and better with time.
GWEN’S FAMILY IS HAPPILY LIVING IN NORTHWESTERN BC. SHE AND HER HUSBAND ARE THE PARENTS OF FOUR CHILDREN: TWO BIOLOGICAL DAUGHTERS AND TWO ETHIOPIAN BORN CHILDREN . GWEN IS CONSTANTLY AMAZED THAT ANYONE BOTHERS TO READ HER BLOG, WHICH CAN BE FOUND AT HTTP://BLETHERINGSPOT.BLOGSPOT.COM.
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