On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ten years of Motherhood

Some adoptive families celebrate a Gotcha day, some celebrate Adoption Day, others just celebrate at birthdays as usual. In my heart, I celebrate the day I officially got custody of Sissy, December 4, 2000.

She had a double ear infection, impetigo, was soaked to her ears in urine, had a leather cap [1], was anemic, malnourished and underweight, had a bloody, raw bottom with a torn hymen and a flattened cranium from remaining in the same sleep and sitting position for so long. The items I received that were deemed as her possessions were thrown away for fear they might contain roaches or roach eggs.[2] She had no properly fitting clothes, she had no legitimate place to sleep. She had no safe car seat to travel in. She had nothing of value and no clear reason to keep her in the environment she was in. She had failure to thrive, was traumatized and she refused to make eye contact. Indeed, I think children in orphanages of third world countries received better care.

The first time I laid eyes on her, I was in love.

I have spent the last ten years of my life as a mother demonstrating the limitless boundaries of my love for all of my children. Here's to all the mothers, birth, adoptive and foster that know that love and motherhood may not be attributes that always go well together, but who muddle through it anyway, because no matter what happens, these souls we have charge over are worth it.

To celebrate, I have put the following on the back of my van. I wholeheartedly encourage you to do the same!

[1]leather cap - babies get cradle cap. Sissy's had gone untreated for so long that it actually looked like her scalp was made of leather. The medical term I was told really was "leather cap". It took 6 months of regular medicated shampooing and gentle scrubbing to soften the dead cells enough so they would loosen and brush out without picking.

[2] I did keep one item. At the time I thought it might be valuable to Sissy later as she processes her adoption story. It was a blanket in relatively decent shape. I washed it and have kept it safe to return to her.


Forevermom said...

Thank you for sharing. My ten year "momiversary" is Jan 6th. And my kids are awesome too!! I never knew I was capable of such overpowering love, of being a fiercely protective momma bear, and a tireless advocate. My children have helped me to grow and learn, to discover things about myself and others that I never expected. This is far from the life I had planned, but it is so much more.

Ranger said...

What a really beautiful post.