I wish we would have known that we would never, ever be able to meet their needs. They come from a place of hurt and pain that I cannot understand. I have never been hungry, crying for food but left to suck my fist in a vain attempt to fill the empty gnawing in my stomach. I don't know what it is like to cry in fear or pain and have no one come to offer comfort and security. I had a mom who loved, cared and nurtured me. A mom who was taught by generations before her how to love a care for a child. My children come from a line of broken homes, substance abuse and court documents, restraining orders, parole officers and incarcerations. I had no idea how to fix such hurts and generations of pain multiplied into the little people we brought into our home. We thought the love, food and safety we had to offer would heal all ills.
I wish we had known how much damage one person's emotional terrors could do to a whole family. How their inner pain could make you doubt your very presence in this world.
I wish we would have known how woefully inadequate we were. We didn't have any experience helping children who self harmed. Love doesn't fix that. Love is a bandage at best and causes more harm at worst. I didn't know.
I wish someone had told us that it would take years and years of love, sacrificial giving, a pouring out of all ones mental and emotional resources and still falling far short of meeting even the basic needs of a hurting child.
I wish someone would have told us that it can take years and years of work to help the hurting child you brought into your home to gain even the most rudimentary level of trust and how one thoughtless action could bring the fragile walls of trust crumbling to the ground, leaving you weeping and despairing of ever gaining the trust of the little people entrusted to you.
I wish we had known how harmful alcohol can be. No one told us what to look for. I wish we had known years ago what our children were up against. We would have pushed so much harder to get them help.
I wish we had known just how devastating it can be to have a child reject you after you gave all you had and kept pouring into their lives until you were so bone dry yourself you were tempted to run away from it all and never come back.
I wish someone had told me that the very services and agencies who were supposed to have our backs may turn on you at a moments notice if they don't agree with your decisions even if the decision was made after many prayers and tears.
I wish we would have been better able to understand the meaning of the "Roller Coaster of Adoption and Foster Care." We watched others and thought we knew but how clueless we were.
I wish we had known how to protect our healthy children from the ones who were unhealthy. Would have known how much damage a hurting child can cause a family, how one child can erode the very foundation of family life.
I wish we would have researched trauma, attachment and bonding so we could have been therapeutic parents from the very beginning.
*coming soon: I am thankful we experienced these things because..