“Life is over easy. Everybody’s shell cracked.”
So I have this shiny new website. I decided to launch TheStickyLife.com today because this is a very special day.
Today, we celebrate the 5th anniversary of Luciana’s adoption.
Adoption was never one of those things I thought much about, until one day someone mentioned that there are more kids in foster care in Milwaukee than there are families to take them. I never did verify if that statistic was accurate or not, but it did get me thinking. Greg and I talked about it and decided to go to an informational meeting at our local library.
After that meeting, I felt strangely casual about taking the next step of paperwork. I say strangely casual because I am renowned for researching everything from Thanksgiving turkey to exterior paint colors. So you can imagine it came as a surprise when we shrugged and said, yeah–let’s bring, you know, an unknown human being into our home and just love her.
And that’s what we did. A few months after our paperwork was completed and we got The Call. The Call was from a stressed out social worker who needed to find a place for this kiddo before 5p and needed an answer in 30 minutes. We said yes, picked her up, swung by Target for diapers and formula and brought her home.
Let me tell you, the home study and the paperwork and picking up Luciana was the easy part. You can read more of the details about the 2+ year process of hearings and visits here.
I’m going to give it to you straight. Adoption is beautiful but it is also really hard. I was struggling for a long time to figure out how to connect with Lucy. I loved her, of course, but sometimes she does things that I just don’t understand. All kids act out in their own way, and I didn’t know how to respond because she was different from my other two girls. She needed something from me, but I didn’t know what it was or how to give it.
I’d connect occasionally with other adoptive parents and ask how things were going. I remember vividly a New Year’s Eve party several years ago. I was talking to another mom who had recently adopted a foster kiddo who was much older than Luciana when he was placed in their home. She told me how well he was doing, how great he fit in with their other kids and that it felt like he had always been with them. So let me tell you, quite honestly–that crushed me. Sure, I was thrilled that this mom and newly adopted kiddo were thriving, but it made me feel like I must not be doing things right. It confirmed my suspicion that I really must not be a very good mom.
I grapple with that same insecurity (am I doing the right thing?) with all my children, but especially with Luciana. Behind closed doors, I felt like a fraud and a failure. I went to Love and Logic classes, took her to occupational therapists, pursued her for a kiss throughout the day even though it was likely that I’d get kicked or hit. Lucy is a darling kid and she doesn’t do that on purpose. The best explanation I can say is that close proximity would send a bolt of lighting through her body that shot out her foot and connected with my face.
I still don’t have Lucy figured out but I realized a couple years ago that wasn’t the point. The point is to love her and fight for her. My friend Heather adopted a child and told me that this little girl kept her honest; that if she didn’t have this kiddo, she’d likely be one of those know it all moms who wishes that other people would just control their kids. When Heather told me that, I knew that without Lucy, I’d be one of those moms too: a mom who smugly gives out unsolicited advice and directives to other parents who are clearly not as smart and skilled as I am.
So, yeah. Lucy saved me from being that kind of person and, man–I am so thankful for that. She’s crazy smart but can’t remember that, yes, we brush our teeth and put our shoes on every single day of our life. She lets me kiss her now without injury. She’s a wonderful friend and is helping a friend in her class process his own adoption. She’s proud of her story and I am proud of her. She and I didn’t give up on each other.
We stuck it out even though it wasn’t convenient or easy. Luciana helps me stay honest. I’d rather risk being real with people than settle for looking perfect. And with that, my friends, I introduce you to The Sticky Life.
Thanks for reading.