Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Truth - One Year Later

A year ago today, I boarded a plane to head to Colombia.  At the time, I put on a happy face and made it seem like I was super excited to meet my "daughter"---you know, that little girl that I had 4 pictures of and had seen on Skype twice.  The girl I was supposed to be madly in love with.  The girl I was scared to death of!  

I'm about to be brutally honest with all of you.  It may make you think less of me.  It may remind you that I'm a flawed, crazy human being---just like everyone else.  It may give you comfort in your own process and thoughts.  

When I decide to do something, I do all my research, make pro/con lists, and jump in--quickly.  There is no time for doubts or second thoughts.  I'm in.  I did it when moving to Chicago.  I did it when buying a house.  I did it when returning from Mexico.  I did it when adopting a child.  

I first heard about Reece's Rainbow in a television story over Christmas break 2011.  I wrote my first blog post about RR and an idea that was in my head on January 1, 2012.  I went public with my decision on January 25, 2012 after having contacted the home study agency, the adoption agency, and RR.  On February 17, 2012, I revealed who my daughter was and we became public on the RR site.  All of that happened in less than 2 months.  

At that point, the momentum was in place.  I was getting fingerprints, filling out paperwork and applications, having the social worker visit, working out details, fundraising.  I was busy!  

Most of the time, I was super excited about becoming Sara's mom.  But, when I laid down at night to go to sleep, the doubts crept in.  I wasn't just adopting.  I was adopting a child with special needs.  On my own.  I was going to be giving up all of my time, my freedom, my money, my sleep!  I was becoming a mom---forever!  

It all came to a head when it was time to leave.  I invited a bunch of friends to come over the night before I left.  One of them asked if that was really how I wanted to spend my evening.  It sure was!  I didn't want to be alone with my panicky thoughts!  I just might talk myself out of going.  A couple of them stayed late into the night.  I was glad because I was so tired when they left that I had no trouble going to sleep.  

I woke up in a panic.  I couldn't go.  I was ruining my life.  I was not cut out for this.  I'm not the great person that a lot of people seem to think I am.  I'm a mediocre teacher.  What makes me think I'll be a good parent?  What if I didn't like her?  (My sister reminded me that I didn't really like all the students I've had over the years.  What if I didn't like her?  Thanks, sister!)  What in the world made me think this was a good idea???  

I knew I had to get up and get dressed because friends were coming to pick me up and take me to the airport.  I talked myself through each step and took lots of deep breaths.  I managed not to cry on the way to the airport or through the check in process.  I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.   I had to get on the first plane because my mom was meeting me in NY for our flight to Colombia.  I couldn't leave her there alone.  I had to get on the next plane because my mom was with me and she was so excited.  I didn't tell her what I was thinking and feeling because I was afraid if I started to talk, I'd start crying and just never stop.  

I am a people-pleaser and a peace-maker.  I felt like there were so many people invested in this process.  So many people had helped me fund raise and supported me.  So many people were excited.  I couldn't let them down!  I'd have to go and complete the adoption because I'd never be able to face them if I came home empty-handed.  

I should clarify that I didn't always have these feelings.  I had sought wise counsel and spent a lot of time in prayer.  I had seen God provide for my adoption financially and in so many other ways.  I knew that I was doing the right thing.  I just didn't feel it at all on that day.  

I wish I could say that it all changed two days later when I met her.  It really didn't.  I felt like I was babysitting.  I kept expecting someone to realize that I had no idea what I was doing and take her away.  I had to keep reminding myself of all that I had gone through to get her because I felt like they were just giving away children to anyone.  

A year later, I can tell you without a doubt that I did not ruin my life.  Things may have gone quickly and I may have gotten caught up in the momentum.  I may have had doubts but I do not have regrets.  I may get frustrated and wish I could go grocery shopping alone but I am madly in love with MY daughter.  Choosing to adopt Sara was the best decision I've ever made in my life.  

1 comment:

  1. Much love to you, Natalie, I love this!! None of us, believe me, are perfect, but you come pretty close. You are a courageous, thoughtful, kind and good mother. Sara couldn't ask for more.