Now that I adopted (a child with Down syndrome *gasp* as a single mother *faint*) I am apparently on the road to sainthood.
The first day of school is meetings with new parents. Last year, one walked in and said "I heard you adopted a kid with Down syndrome. You know they don't get better when they get older." (Talk about not knowing how to respond!) This year, I'm a saint. This mom was amazed that I teach sped all day and then go home to a child with Down syndrome. (I'm wonderful.) Then it came out that she's adopted. (Her tan gave her away.) (I'm amazing.) Oh, and I'm a single mom. (I'm on the road to sainthood.)
But here's the truth: I'm not any of those things. Seriously. I'm a mom. Who struggles. Who tries to be consistent. Who tries to do right by her child. Who hopes to do better tomorrow.
I'm not denying that I have had a unique set of life experiences that has prepared me to be Sara's mom. I definitely have. But I didn't adopt to make the world a better place. Or to rescue a child. I adopted because I wanted to be a mom. That really is the bottom line. I know that people adopt for a variety of reasons but that's mine. I wanted to be a mom.
I have met quite a few adoptive families in the last two years. Some have tons of prior special needs experience. Some have none. Some are doing well. Some are struggling. I don't think that everyone is equipped to adopt (especially kids with special needs). I also don't think that you have to have extensive professional experience with kids with special needs to be a successful adoptive family. There are a million factors. I happen to have had some life experiences that have made Sara's transition easier but I also have a kid that has just adjusted really well. Sometimes I joke that I hit the adoption jackpot. I'm not wonderful but my kid pretty much is.
I was drafting this in my head while I made dinner. Then, Sara lost it because I wouldn't let her eat her tortellini in front of the tv. (We have a "spaghetti sauce only gets eaten at the table rule" which was deemed incredibly unreasonable tonight.) There were some new, unpleasant behaviors that I haven't seen from her before. (The first week of school is so tiring and hard.) As we worked through the very unfair rules and mean mommy issues, I thought: See! I'm not wonderful! I'm just a mom.
A very blessed mom.