I’m thinking about acceptance today as this is one of the things I think I struggle with. My life is very different from how I imagined it would be when I decided to adopt Kitten and Bunny. On paper both girls were fairly unaffected by anything that had happened to them in their past. I guessed that in reality this was unlikely to be the case as I had met many adopters and read up about attachment theory etc prior to approval. I knew that the girls were likely to have issues some of which would only become apparent as they got older. But many facts were omitted from their CPRs; some of them very important facts about their past, their birth family and about their lives in foster care. Nothing could have prepared me for the level of their needs. So the first part of acceptance is the fact that my girls’ needs are much more significant than I was lead to believe and I accept that I have to let go of my anger at the fact that this was not disclosed prior to or even after placement.
In my career I am someone who is good at getting results. I work with some very difficult young people. I know what works, have lots of ideas on how to help them and often make a big difference to their outcomes. It’s very satisfying and I love that aspect of my job. If that sounds arrogant please don’t read it that way! It is simply something I know I can do, and can do well. But at home…well I find that it’s a different matter altogether. The issues that Kitten and Bunny have cannot be fixed so easily. I find I am not able to work my magic on them! The successes in terms of progress are tiny and few and far between. This has been a big blow to my confidence and has changed the way I perceive myself. Learning to accept that life is not going to change dramatically tomorrow or next week or next year; that progress in my house would be Kitten letting me touch her without recoiling – not all the time but once in a blue moon. Progress would be Bunny having a night when she doesn’t cry herself to sleep. Progress would be being able to leave the girls in the same room together for longer than 2 minutes without something going horribly wrong. I need acceptance that although some adopters may be able to do all sorts of things with their children, our situation is such that those things are simply not going to be possible with my children for a long time – we are not suddenly going to be able to manage soft play, or a Haven holiday, or Rainbows or any number of other things. And I have to learn to be ok with that or the frustration will overwhelm me. So I accept I am not able to fix everything, and I accept that at the moment this is the way our lives need to be.
Please don’t believe that anything here means I am without hope because I do have hope for the future. Hope that things will slowly improve over time. Acceptance for me is to let go of frustration and anger, to let go of wishing things were different. It is to find joy in the small things we are able to achieve and it is learning to love my tricky but amazing girls for who they are now, not for who they might become in the future.