This post has been a long time coming. I’ve wanted our oldest biological child to write about her experience and the difficulty thereof related to our adoption for a long time. Personally, I feel the bio kid’s perspective is one which is often overlooked, but there world is turned just as much upside down with adoption as anyone’s.
Recently, Chloe had to write a paper about injustice for her Freshman Honors English class. The assignment was to write about the affects of an injustice personally experienced or observed by the student. Chloe decided to finally write about the difficulty of the early days of our journey (nearly five years in, now). Below is her paper…..I hope it helps bring perspective on her struggle AND just maybe helps another bio kid going through similar difficulty because of their parent’s choice to adopt.
A Thousand Tears
I’m sitting on the couch with my mom, enjoying an episode of ‘Unwrapped’. Soon enough, after lounging for maybe ten minutes, my dad calls my mom from the upstairs bedroom. My younger sister was at it again. She was about to get in trouble for something she did, and my mom wasn’t going to come back and watch TV with me. It was a common pattern now that I had four new siblings. I would be ready to enjoy some quality time with one of my parents and then one of my siblings would do something they shouldn’t and it would take my parents hours to get things under control. It wasn’t my sibling fault they were disrupting my family, it was simply the only thing they knew to do. It was subconscious survival. I’m laying in bed trying to sleep and my mom comes in and says,
“I’m sorry I couldn’t finish the show with you. But I had to deal with a situation with your sister.”
To which I replied, “It’s fine.”
But it wasn’t. I was disappointed and angry at my sister. I wished she and the others could just be perfectly fine and get along and I could have my parents attention back. I realize this sounds greedy, but my parents were pouring more of their attention into my new siblings because the security of being loved, an essential need to all people, was missing from their lives. I knew they’d been treated unjustly for the majority of their lives, really until my family stepped into the picture. It wasn’t fair for them, they were only kids and hadn’t done anything to deserve whatever it was they had gone through. But I didn’t understand why I had to deal with the effects of it. Recently, I had felt like my parents were only focused on them and I was an afterthought. They were busy cleaning up the mess of my new sibling’s past lives and seemed to forget I still craved attention too. I lived for a while feeling disappointed.
During this time, events like this were common. I was even beginning to feel it in my friendships. My best friend seemed to like my younger sister more than she liked me. I tried to tell her it made me feel forgotten. She would promise, “I understand, I won’t do it anymore.” But she would consistently engage my younger sister while ignoring me. She was fascinated by her. I began to feel our sense of sincere, deep friendship slipping away at the hands of my new sister. The trust and privacy we had once enjoyed no longer existed.
Finally, I noticed a change in how the trusted adults in my life approached me. They would ask, “How are you?”, but this was not what they were truly asking. It was their way of asking how my new siblings were acclimating to our family. What I desperately desired was for someone to be asking how I was. For a while, no one did this. Yet, because I felt guilty for the feelings I experienced, I never wanted to be honest with my parents. I just needed an adult who understood my situation and really cared enough about me to listen. No one knew my situation better than my parents, but regardless I never told them everything about how I felt. I turned to either journaling or bottling my emotions (which I now realize was not healthy at all). Every day was an emotional roller coaster. Constantly, I thought, “Why did we do this?” or “I never did anything to them, why do I have to put up with their emotional baggage?”
I felt guilty for my emotions and thoughts, and if I’m entirely honest, I still do sometimes. I should never have been jealous and greedy, but I was suffering the aftermath of what my new siblings had experienced. For some reason God had chosen my family to clean up the mess. But, I didn’t see it as fair. We hadn’t caused their hardship, so why did we have to fix it. My feelings were real and raw, but I now realize I had to feel those things so God could grow and change me through them. How much sweeter does a breakthrough taste after having suffered through the bitterness of injustice! Now I see how God uses suffering to help us grow through and process change. I witnessed injustice in my siblings lives and experienced injustice through the baggage they carry. But in the midst of it, I found God was still faithful. Crying was a way of life during those times, but I didn’t want to cry, I wanted to be happy again. I experienced many emotions such as: guilt, annoyance, jealousy, and others I struggle to describe. I found the discipline of journaling was a helpful way to process these emotions. Often God would help me understand how I felt through what I wrote. With God’s help I filled many pages through this season of my life.
I remember when the movie ‘Inside Out’ came out in theaters and my family went to go see it shortly after returning home from Poland. I felt a deep connection to Riley, the main character. She was the same age as me and was experiencing many new, difficult changes. She loved the idea of moving to San Francisco, but when she actually learned what this entailed, she wanted to go home. I connected to Riley on a meaningful level, though I never explained it to anyone. I wanted to return home, just as she did. Not to a physical home, but home in the sense of the normal things I was used to. I wanted it to be me and my brothers, no sisters. I wanted to return to my place as the only daughter. I lost my best friend, only for a time though, and so did Riley. When everything else was stripped away, grief was my primary emotion.
While I was processing through these emotions this week, in order to write this narrative, I discovered a song which spoke to me on a profound level. “Blessings” by Laura Story has a chorus which says, “‘What if your blessings come through raindrops, What if Your healing comes through tears, What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near, What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.” I can see with newfound clarity through this song, what I have never seen before. I realize now tears are often necessary for processing and grieving. Although I sometimes felt guilty for crying and grieving, the lyrics of this song helped me understand healing often comes through those tears. These ‘trials’ were preparing me to see the blessing and the work of God in my siblings and family. Now, I am also assured God had me in mind through it all, not just my new siblings. The majority of the time I can honestly say my sister (the oldest of the three) and I get along quite well as true sisters, not just two people forced to share a room because we were thrust together by God’s plan. My biological brother and I had spent many nights talking about our feelings towards what was happening in our family. These talks proved extremely healthy for both of us. Although sometimes things are still difficult, I now understand God is using this to do a deep work in my life and make me who He’s called me to be. God can use any injustice for His glory and our good if we will yield to Him.