In 5 days we were supposed to officially move our adoptive daughter in. We would have just returned her a few days ago to her foster family after having her for an extended visit for the holiday. Instead it’s been about 6 weeks since the adoption was cancelled. We still have a lot of healing to do, but I’m thankful for the progress that has been made and that L has supported me from the very moment that I told him there was something wrong. I don’t know that either of us are overly festive or really know heads from tails yet, but I’m very thankful to know without a doubt that he is by my side through the grief, the anger, the fear, and the loss. No matter how irrationally angry or tearful I am, or how lost and apathetic I am, there is always comfort and security in his hug. I think he’s the only reason I didn’t get admitted to the psych ward during this horrific process, especially when I fully realized that I had survived living around a sociopath for the second time in my life.
I wanted the process to work…I wanted us to finally have our own little family so very much after so much work and time, so…I ignored the signs. My body finally wouldn’t let me cling to the emotions and hopes, and made me face that something was so very wrong. My psychiatrist sadly guessed that the diagnoses in her medical forms listed as “rule out” weren’t actually diagnosed, because they don’t want to stigmatize a child with a potentially life altering diagnosis and there’s always the chance that the right family can help reverse the behaviors from the condition that was caused by the child’s life. Unfortunately, we were the very opposite of being the right family in this situation, because someone with sociopathic behavior (or symptoms of antisocial personality disorder) will be drawn to someone like me for all of the worst reasons. I survived attempted murder and although I’m a lot stronger now, it’s terrifyingly easy to fall back into the traps of sociopathic behavior. Telling me “I love you” at just the right moment while tearing me down a little bit, wanting to cuddle and spend time together knowing that they are hiding something bad that they’ve done behind my back, the lack of remorse when confronted with inappropriate actions…all over again, except this time while being called “Mom” for the first time in my life. The one name I longed to hear for most of my adult life.
After the last, surprisingly horrible visitation, and my body was in an uproar, I was utterly shattered. I knew something wasn’t right when it was hard to hug her goodbye when her driver picked her up, but despite everything I was still wearing the rose-colored glasses of loving this child I didn’t know. Sitting in my adopted sister’s car in my driveway, crying uncontrollably, I realized just how scared I was of this child. Here I was an adult and I was terrified after remembering a look she gave me that was identical to one that my ex used to give me. I’ll always be thankful that she told me that age didn’t matter if they’re able to trigger your PTSD – there’s something seriously dangerous and she told me that I needed to go in, wake L up despite him having to work that night, and tell him my feelings. I hated waking him, but don’t think I’ll ever remember how fast his groggy voice became serious and comforting. At first all I said was that I was scared of her and just like that he said then it would all be over. Everything would stop immediately. He didn’t even need to hear reasons or anything else. Sitting here and writing out my secrets, crying yet again, I can’t help but be amazed that despite my extremely bad track record (considering previous attempted murder, abuse to cause multiple miscarriages, and other things that get shoved into the dark corners of the mind to hide away from), I had somehow married someone who trusted me that much and who would be the protector that handled things, so I could try to put myself back together again.
We sent a message to all of the involved workers that we were cancelling the adoption and halting all further action, and my doctor even got involved to tell them to cease contacting me until further notice due to worsening my symptoms, but I give them credit for still trying. And I can’t give many more details involving any of this, however I pulled myself together enough to pack everything up – gifts bought for her, the Christmas decorations she had picked out that we had bought, all of the clothing and miscellaneous items, toys, left behind belongings, learning gadgets, you name it…and just before Halloween we took multiple huge boxes to the adoption agency and gave to our original case worker (who was the supervisor, so she took back over the case unfortunately and made it all even harder) all of the hopes and dreams we had for our adoptive daughter to be transported down to the girl’s personal case worker to give to her.
Thankfully L attended the emergency psych appointment with me following everything and, like I wrote before, is probably the only reason I didn’t get admitted. While discussing that we need to grieve losing this child and maybe even the possibility of ever becoming parents, we needed to imprint over the goals and activities that became tarnished, for lack of finding a better word, by the whole situation. One of the biggest was that there were plans to take her to Branson, MO, where we had our honeymoon and have attended several of their Olde Time Christmas events throughout our marriage. I had included information in the scrapbook that I had made for the agency/kid and it was something very special for me to bond over.
L surprised me shortly thereafter with a luxury condo stay during the opening of the event and thankfully he made it so incredible that I don’t have to worry about avoiding such a special place or wonderful memories, and although it was bittersweet, it was one of the best trips I ever had. When the night gets a little too long and my mind won’t quiet, I have a beautiful memory of being all bundled up from the cold, leaning against each other and drinking horrible hot chocolate while playing with Snapchat filters. I even got to spend a while in the rustic chapel at Silver Dollar City, where I’ve always found the most peace out of all of the churches I’ve ever been to, and sitting in the rough pew with the soft light of a Christmas tree in the corner shining over the pulpit, I finally started to go into the stages of grief instead of just being blinded by it. Although we aren’t doing much for the holidays this year, I was blessed to be given the gift I most needed help with by an incredible husband that is a good ole boy who doesn’t get nearly enough credit for helping everyone to the point that he suffers.
Although we still have a lot of grief to work through; back and forth through all of those stages, the worst is over. I never have to fear again that I’ll either be emotionally torn apart and victimized again, or possibly even have another attack on my life, but this time by my own daughter. It may be surprising, but I still think fostering and adopting the older kids needs to be considered a lot more and we need to be a lot more aware of their needs. If we as a society had done a better job early on that young girl probably wouldn’t be on the bubble of being a sociopath when around others that can be victimized. For us we can never go down the same path of adoption again; if we decide to try again, we will have to find a way to go through a private adoption. We have a lot of healing to do before we can even decide if having a child to raise is what we still want or if we want to be one of those eccentric couples that takes trips to unusual places and fills scrapbooks with happy memories we make together or with our fur babies. Not getting all caught up in the usual holiday festivities has actually given me a better perspective than I’ve ever had…we can still make beautiful memories with those we care about and find peace without the lights of a tree, cats batting at ribbons decorating carefully wrapped presents, or a big meal that becomes more of a chore than about a time of coming together to enjoy one another. We can still celebrate our Faith without any tinsel or a big to-do.
So, despite a lot of pain and traveling a very difficult path, I’m very thankful for the incredible lessons I have learned in such a short amount of time. I’m also very thankful that I have the support of others through this blog who have been a huge blessing throughout the whole adoption process and who gave me the courage to finally talk publicly about the new path our journey has taken.