We chose him understanding this.
So because of that, I sometimes feel as if I cannot admit to how hard it can be living out this reality. I am nervous that the people who never supported our decision to adopt in the first place, will have ammunition to throw in our faces. I wish I didn't care and that it didn't hurt, but it does. So I only share bits and pieces of the hard, and then I feel guilty for even that. I want to live transparently and truthfully.
And truthfully many days, my world is filled with hard, pain, intensity, and guilt.
Everything changed the moment we brought Jameson home. It does with every new child brought into a home, but with Jamesy the change was drastic and intensified. Although Jamesy was no longer blind, it seemed every few months we were receiving a new diagnosis for him. His latest diagnosis came this fall, and it made so many pieces to our sweet Jamesy puzzle fall into place. So many things about him make sense now. Autism. While the diagnosis remains unofficial, he was evaluated this fall by a child Psychiatrist, who given the outcomes of his tests, solidly believes he is definitely on the spectrum - he came out right in the middle of the spectrum for everything. He cannot get the official diagnosis until he is seen by a specialist (we have an appointment for 2 years from now - that's small town living for you).
The past, almost three years, have been hard. The hardest of my entire life, and the loneliest. I thought the adoption journey was lonely, but I had no idea what this parenting journey would bring. I thought that after Jamesy got home things would settle, and that I would just be one of "the moms" again. But I stopped being able to relate somewhere along the way. Perhaps it was because my little guy was missing milestones left and right, and I was fighting to get help for him. I began to feel very alone as a mom. My Jamesy was different. He came to us, different from us, and the majority of our world, in appearances, and now it was more and more obvious that he was different in every way. For a long time I thought it was attachment, and that maybe I had not done enough to cocoon him in the beginning and help him learn to bond and attach, and I felt deep, painful, guilt. Maybe those hours (hours where I had to miss out on spending time with my Cadi and Scotty) spent every afternoon, every night in the rocking chair, rocking his screaming, writhing, little body weren't enough. Maybe I should have done more. I felt guilt for the moments that he would scream out at night, and my eyes would squeeze tightly shut in exhaustion at the thought of having to get up and go to him again. Maybe he somehow knew that there were moments that I would have given anything to pull the covers back up over my head. Maybe if I had caught the seizures when we first brought him home, and pushed the doctors to do tests, maybe then his brain would not be so shambled, and he would have begun talking on time. Maybe because I was so busy homeschooling Cadi, and entertaining Scotty, and praying my heart out for Habi to survive the streets, I didn't work hard enough with Jamesy, and maybe that is why he was so far behind. Maybe a year was too early to leave him and get away for a bit with my husband. All these thoughts have plagued me, and the guilt has hung heavy on my shoulders. It's all from the enemy, and while I know that, it is still hard to shake it off and grab hold of the truth.
I love my Jameson so much my heart hurts to look at him sometimes. He is beautiful and funny and so, so smart. Someday the world will see how smart he is, and until then I will be his biggest fan. Jamesy has brought big joy into our home and so much laughter. He is vibrant and adorable and ours. His giggles send the whole family running to see what's so funny. His smile is magnetic, and he draws people into his world even when he is not easily drawn into theirs. He is affectionate and he is teaching me so much about the heart of God. I do not regret one moment of mommying him. He is so much a part of our family, that it is impossible to imagine our life without him. I look at him, and I forget that it was not I who birthed him.
Yet there remains excruciating moments, like when I watch a friend's baby -over 2 years younger then mine - do things that my Jamesy still cannot do. Or when I hear my nephew, who is a year younger, carry on a full, articulate conversation. It's in those moments that my heart breaks, and I feel as if I cannot breathe. It is in those moments when I see my baby's reality, and fear for his future digs its icy fingers into my heart. As hard as many of my days are, I know Jamesy's are hard too. Every thing is work for him. What we take for granted and comes so easily to so many of us is hard, hard work for my boy. And that hurts his mommy's heart. But I know that this is building perseverance and character in him, and in me.
My reality is that the past three years have been hard. I have gone through denial, anger, guilt, sadness, and probably even a touch of depression. There are days when I feel trapped in my home, and the only release I have is social media. So I go to it, just to know that there is an outside world beyond these four walls - sometimes to make myself find the beauty in the here and now, and sometimes to vent just to hear from others that I am really not alone. There are moments, as an introvert, where I feel such a need to get away from it all - just to breathe and refresh. I am just now starting to deal with some of my feelings in all of this and process the hurt and the fears and the horrible guilt. My husband has been my rock, and he has listened to me cry and scream and battle these thoughts, and all the while he is battling his own.
Through this all, I do feel hope. Hope that this is not it. Hope that God has beautiful plans for our family - for our Jamesy. Hope for Jamesy's future. Hope that somehow all of the pain is being worked into something more beautiful then I could imagine and something way bigger then ourselves. Hope that I am truly not alone, and every step of the way I am being gently guided. Hope that though I will never be strong enough for this, Jesus is so perfected in all my weaknesses, and He never asked for my strength. He asked me to be willing, and even now at the end of the day, I am still willing.
Though I share this transparently, I don't do it for sympathy or for my readers to feel sorry for me - I'm not looking for pity. I do it for those of you who feel isolated, fearful, guilty, tired, abandoned, etc. I want you to know that you are not alone. I am not alone. Jesus is near.